This Blog is a reflection of all things wine and food. The subject of my blogs are a result of questions posed to me by family and friends and people who stop by my tasting counter. A light and hopefully enlightening read.
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WHAT TO DO WITH THAT OPEN BOTTLE OF WINE
How many times have you opened a bottle of wine and not finished it? Are you thinking, “what, who doesn’t finish a bottle of wine? That never happens!!!” Well, it has happened to me and at some point, it will happen to you too.
In my experience, pouring multiple bottles of wine several days a week for my job, I end up with a lot of open bottles of wine every week. I would often give these leftover bottles of wine to friends and family to enjoy. But there are occasions I am working out of town and there is no one to give the wine to. Through trial and error, I have with some criteria and solutions for storing open bottles of wine, that I find work well.
First of all, wine is subjective. The shelf life of an open bottle of wine is not cut and dry. There are many variables to consider. All wines are not alike. Ergo, shelf life can be different with each wine. Standard rule of thumb, the average shelf life for an open bottle of red wine is 3-5 days and for a white wine 5-7 days. A sparkling wine is not recommended to try and save for another day. It is difficult to contain those bubbles. Having said that, I have had some success with holding a sparkling wine over to the next day with a champagne/sparkling wine cap. However the bubbles are never as lively as when the bottle was first opened.
My tips that I am sharing with you are for still Red and White wines. For the best results, store that open bottle of wine in the fridge, upright, to minimize the surface of wine to air. The cold temperature will make the wine maintain its character longer than storing the wine on the kitchen counter. A key factor to storing an open bottle of wine is how much wine is left in the bottle. Here is where it all comes down to science. If the bottle of wine is almost empty (say 1/4 of the wine is left in the bottle), that means the rest of the bottle is full of oxygen. Oxygen is a wine’s enemy. The oxygen is going to cause the wine to spoil quicker. The process is called “oxygenation”. Oxygenation spoils the wine making the wine not as pleasant as an unopened bottle. So, you can assume that a fuller bottle of wine will last longer with better results.
The quality of a wine can really have an affect when it comes to storing. If you have a quality wine with structure – tannins, acidity, alcohol and residual sugar all balanced by a quality Producer and its a quality vintage, the opened bottle of wine will store better. Meaning the aromas and flavors are still intact. Lesser quality wines will, generally, degrade quicker once opened.
There is a tool that has been created to help with storing an open bottle of wine. It is called a vacuum pump. A small hand-held device that works with a rubber stopper (both pump and stopper are sold together (you can also purchase extra stoppers separately). This device is meant to remove the oxygen that has filled your open bottle of wine, hence taking one destructive factor away from the perils of storing an open bottle of wine.
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