Sometimes, it's not feasible to finish what you've started. Like the bottle of red wine with a juicy finish and hints of black cherries. Though you want to, there are other priorities.
So what should you do with the rest? Can an open bottle of wine be saved? Yes, but it's going to take some care. Let's review the basics.
What's the best way to seal the bottle?
Cork your wine with its original cork. Your instinct might be to use the clean side of the cork. But in truth, it may not be as clean you think and could taint the taste of your wine. Re-cork with the stained side.
If you prefer a bottle stopper, use one that's functional. Not the purely decorative one you received at the office gift exchange. It should have a side tab that clicks closed and seals the bottle tightly.
Should wine go in the refrigerator or be left out?
Leftover wine should be kept in the same place as your leftover dinner - the refrigerator. Yes, even red. The key to preserving the last glasses of your wine is minimizing its exposure to oxygen. Storing wine at colder temperatures won't stop oxidation, but it does slow the chemical process down.
For the best results, store the bottle upright and avoid dramatic temperature changes. Instead, when you're ready to serve, use lukewarm water to warm up the bottle.
How many days will open wine last?
Sparkling Wines, like Prosecco, dissolve quickly once exposed to oxygen due to their carbonation. With a special stopper, Champagne lasts 1 to 3 days.
Light White, Sweet White, and Rosé Wine will keep about 5 to 7 days. After the first day, the flavors and aromas will slowly diminish as it oxidizes; yet it will still taste good.
Full-Bodied White Wines like Chardonnay and Viognier oxidize more quickly. They will keep 3 to 5 days in your fridge with a cork.
Red Wines need the most TLC. The average is 3 to 5 days in a chiller or fridge. However, there are variances based on the tannins. Higher tannin and acidity levels usually mean longer lasting wine. So, Cabernet will last longer than Pinot Noir.
How to tell if wine is too old?
Even if you've followed all the above tips, wines still go bad. As a general rule of thumb, after a week, it's passed its peak. But how can you tell for sure?
Look at the color and condition. Is it cloudy? Does it leave a film on the bottle? Signs of browning are an indicator of oxidation. Tiny bubbles show a second fermentation is underway.
Smell the wine. A wine that has gone bad will have a sharp, sour smell, similar to vinegar or nail polish remover. If the smell isn't a deterrent and you insist on tasting it, drinking bad wine won't hurt you. Although, if it gets to that point, finishing the bottle in the first place is probably your best option.
Still have some questions? Be sure to visit our FAQ's page to learn more about California wine.
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