Wine savers: What works, what doesn't

We all know that opening a bottle of wine for dinner can lead to a fun evening with our friends or a quiet, intimate few hours with our special loved one. We also know that any red wine left over in the bottle usually goes bad within a day or two after being opened. This has been the bane of the wine drinking world for centuries and is still a problem for today's wine drinker. Just how do we save, with success, a half full bottle of red wine without the wine going bad in a hurry?

We know that left open in a relatively short time, red wine will turn "sour" then display a "vinegar" nose within a week of being subject to air. This can be very upsetting, especially if the wine was an expensive item when purchased or a lovely wine from the cellar. Here's the scoop;

Wine is born to die. The natural progression of red wine is to be youthful when first made. These wines display tons of fresh fruit, youthful, purple colors and upbeat flavors. As wine ages, these youthful fruits turn mellow and soft and the sharpness of tannins can disappear as well as a settling down of other disjointed flavors (I'm simplifying the process at this point) and an overall softer wine emerges. Keeping a wine open, that is opening a wine and letting it sit for days, speeds up this aging process to the point that we very rapidly end up with a vinegar type beverage that is not drinkable. Here are some tricks to keep the red wine from going "bad" after being opened;

Vacu vin

This is a little hand pump that sits on a rubber grommet (three to a pack) on the top of a half full bottle of wine. Pump the little hand pump and some air is taken from the air space in the bottle. We know that the little critters in the air are what turns the wine into vinegar so the less air the more time the wine will stay in good shape. The rubber grommet stays on the bottle until one wants to pour more of the wine out. A simple squeeze of the grommet lets air in and once it is removed, the wine can be poured.

Heavy gas

This is a system where heavy gas is introduced to the surface of the wine. This gas is usually nitrogen or argon placed in small cans. One can spray into the bottle after some of the wine has been poured. This system allows for the heavy gas to sit on the surface of the wine not allowing for the beastly air to come in contact with the vino.

Cooling the wine

This system is my favorite. Treat red wine as you would white wine and simply refrigerate the wine. This takes some forethought to be successful. If you have an open wine in the fridge simply remember to take it out of the refrigerator the morning of the evening you wish to consume the vino. This cooling slows down the bad boys that turn wine from the good side to the dark side in a very effective manner. I have put a bottle of red wine in the refrigerator for a week or so and the wine seems very fresh when I need it. I also know of professional wine folks who freeze very nice wines! I've tried it and it work very well in a long term effort to keep the product drinkable. Simply let the half full bottle thaw for the day on the counter and drink the wine in the evening for dinner. In fact I did this with a wonderful bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir last week and it was a marvelous few glasses of wine.

Well, there you have it! See you next week.

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