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Bill Spohn

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"I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:31 pm

Ok, that isn't exactly correct as there are a few thousand bottles in the cellar, but the quandary was presented by SWMBO wanting to braise a dish for tonight's dinner in wine, and we were out of cooking red (usually some liter and a half bottle of a Chilean cab or some such).

She appeared to be nonplussed when I told her I didn't want to open a 'good' bottle to contribute half of it to a meat sauna for tonight's dinner. I responded by asking "Are you sure that all that cooking wine we had made it into the pot and not into the cook?"

Made me wonder how many people here have two levels of wine - drinking wine, and 'wine I could cook with if I had to'.

The best way to keep cooking wine in my experience, although it may be odd to hear a wine fanatic saying it, is a bag-in-a-box, as no oxygen is allowed into the wine as it is slowly used up.

So who cooks and with what?
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Larry Greenly

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:08 pm

I have a bifurcated system that works perfectly. For the cooking wine, I decant it into a plastic drinking bottle and squeeze it until a meniscus forms on the bottle mouth. Then I screw on the top. No oxygen, no problem. Place it on fridge door, and it will ;last for months or years, to be used as needed. I've done this for years, and it works--period.

Another technique is to freeze the wine in a plastic bottle (it doesn't really hurt it)--to be used later, but I find it handier to have liquid wine.

Both techniques also work well for your good drinking wine--unless you'll drink it all in a few days.

The above allows you to keep a ready supply of cooking wine, while you get to drink all of your expensive wine.
Last edited by Larry Greenly on Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:15 pm

Squeezing out the air is a good way to go.

We usually have a liter and a half bottle of cooking red and white in the cupboard or cooler as the case may be, but I found a disturbing tendency for the white to display a dropping amount, perhaps somehow linked to the increasing smile of the sous chef.

I shall consider implementing the plastic bottle method, or the freezing or both.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:33 pm

Of course, I buy cheap reds and whites for cooking. For red, typically low-end Bordeaux, esp. if I can find a high %age of cab sauv. For whites it varies but often albarino.

The question is: do you have drinking wines that you... would... uh... uh... share... with the pot... if it was really... urgent?

For me, yes, there's Cotes du Rhone, there's Village-level Burgundy, basically anything that isn't rare. (No, you can't have my nero buono or pineau d'aunis for the pot!)
Last edited by Jeff Grossman on Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rahsaan

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Rahsaan » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:50 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:
The question is: do you have drinking wines that you... would... uh... uh... share... with the pot... if it was really... urgent?


Sort of. Although not necessarily the same day that I'm drinking the wine.

Since my wife doesn't drink very much, I usually have leftover wine and keep it in the refrigerator to cook with over the upcoming days. I rarely need large quantities for cooking, it's mostly de-glazing, so I don't need to buy wine specifically for cooking. But, obviously others have different habits.
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Barb Downunder

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Barb Downunder » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:00 am

I often sub Noilly Prat dry vermouth for white wine in cooking, something I picked up from reading MFK Fisher. Keeps very well. I don’t do a lot of cooking which needs quantities of wine (except the cooks portion which should be the larger (much larger) “half”. So I’ll share my nice red with dinner. But I don’t have precious wines either.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:40 am

Nice substitute, Barb. I have a bottle of rainwater madeira in the spice cupboard for when I need a splish of wine. But it's not suitable if the saucepot needs a glass of red.
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Peter May

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Peter May » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:50 am

Every now and again there is a little wine left. I pour that into a screw capped wine bottle I keep in the freezer. It gets topped up whenever there is a little wine left. When the bottle is nearly full I start a new one.

When I do Jamies' beef stew (or daube :D ) I use the contents of one of the freezer bottles, removed from freezer the previous day.


Some time ago I did experiments with freezing wine. Yes, it's not as tasty as a fresh bottle but it's better than an open bottle kept for several days. Used in cooking, it's just right. And yes, it's a blend of various wines/varieties but that doesn't matter as a component in cooking
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Paul Winalski

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Paul Winalski » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:29 am

I use low-end Cotes du Rhone for cooking. There was a nice bag-in-a-box CdR that I had access to for a while, but, alas, not any more. The main dishes I cook that call for wine are braises that use an entire bottle, so I usually don't have a problem with partially used bottles.

-Paul W.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 12:13 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:I use low-end Cotes du Rhone for cooking. There was a nice bag-in-a-box CdR that I had access to for a while, but, alas, not any more. The main dishes I cook that call for wine are braises that use an entire bottle, so I usually don't have a problem with partially used bottles.

-Paul W.


We do a lot of that as well so often use a whole bottle, either into the pot or half in the pot and half in the cooks to maintain interest.
We are heading out this morning in search of a decent Spanish plonk in a bag in a box, or if nit then our usual Tocarnol Chilean in 1.5 l. bottles.
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Jenise

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jenise » Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:27 pm

Yes and no. I actually don't often cook with red wine, lot more white for which I buy cheap-shit chardonnay or SB which can meet Jeff's criteria of "urgency" when a cup or two is needed and there's no immediate need for the remainder of the bottle. For dollops in quick reduction pan sauces I like, and in fact prefer, dry vermouth.

Bill, re your theory on the bladder bags? I once did a neighborhood tasting of about 15 box wines, including some decent Italian and French versions. I tasted the wines a few days before the tasting, at the tasting, and for weeks afterward. I did *not* in fact find that the bladders held up well. Most oxidated in 3 weeks and all had by 6 weeks. I'd rather buy cheap $10ish wines and just be prepared to eventually toss any remainders out.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:31 pm

Ventured out this morning to the local liquor store and acquired a couple of magnums...well, not sure that anything with a screw cap is entitled to that label, but 1.5 l. bottles of Concha Y Toro cab merlot.

The cashier didn't look at me like I was planning a party for one so I didn't have to trot out my line about larger than normal wine purchases ("Its the wife, you know.... ) while making writs bending motions. It occurred to me that I must be a quintessential wine geek - do you know anyone else that automatically vacuvins a screw top bottle instead of just screwing the top back on?

Now that our short ribs are well taken care of I can ponder what wine to actually drink with them .....

Interesting on the bladder bags - I bow to your obviously much greater experience in that area.... :mrgreen:
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Larry Greenly

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Larry Greenly » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:46 pm

Jenise wrote:Bill, re your theory on the bladder bags? I once did a neighborhood tasting of about 15 box wines, including some decent Italian and French versions. I tasted the wines a few days before the tasting, at the tasting, and for weeks afterward. I did *not* in fact find that the bladders held up well. Most oxidated in 3 weeks and pretty much all had by 6 weeks. I'd rather buy cheap $10ish wines and just be prepared to eventually toss any remainders out.



Even at least some the box wine producers state to drink it within a month after opening.
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jenise » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:53 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:Even at least some the box wine producers state to drink it within a month after opening.


Yup and the lower the fill the more rapid the decay. I don't think the wine I put in my food needs to be the same quality of wine we serve with dinner, but it does need to be wine I'd consider drinkable for less-picky people so even there oxidation isn't acceptable.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Spohn

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:07 pm

Agreed - you don't want totally oxidized wine going in even if it might not ruin the dish - because it just might subtract from the end result.

If you are interested in wine preservation techniques, see

https://www.reviewgeek.com/5077/the-bes ... reservers/

and

https://www.reviewgeek.com/5088/the-bes ... reservers/

The Wine Squirrel interests me, but paying $167 to keep cooking wine in good shape doesn't. We almost never have any left over drinking wine - we split a bottle every night and if guests come over the wine either gets used up that day or the next day.

The Platy Preserve looks like something you'd jog with, hung around your neck.

In the second article, everything either takes up too much space, costs the Earth, or both, except the Coravin.
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jenise » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:15 pm

That's exactly it. We finish whatever we open with dinner. Partial bottles are essentially only the bottles I open for cooking with which manage to refrigerate well for up to two weeks, and sometimes even improve and get drunk! Cheap young wines are more durable than most geeks think.

I don't even want a Corovin.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:26 pm

As someone once said, if you have leftover champagne, you're not doing it right.

Yeah, no need for Coravin in my house: by definition, nothing is so precious that it can't all be served at once.

If I decide to split a bottle over two night, I just shove the cork back into it and put it in the fridge. Usually, a little bit of air is good for it, helps it to open up.
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:36 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote: Usually, a little bit of air is good for it, helps it to open up.


As I have many elderly wines, I tend to worry about oenological senescence and open my bottles not long prior to consumption. All being well, that means that you have a 2-3 hour development path ahead (this is NOT the method for people that guzzle a wine within the first 15 minutes after opening to follow).

As you point out, putting the remnant in the fridge over night is an enforced experiment in prolonged oxidation and sometimes that works out well.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:00 pm

Indeed but not for very old wine. Those must be drunk up while their moment is upon them!
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Paul Winalski

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Paul Winalski » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:36 am

I live alone, and decades ago I realized that killing an entire 750ml bottle in one evening to avoid oxidation and keeping a healthy liver were incompatible goals. I invested in a nitrogen dispensing system and I use that for all of the wine I enjoy with meals on my own. I have had cases where I went on a month-long trip away from home, leaving a half-full wine bottle behind, and on return it was just as fresh as when I left. I have enough stopper/dispensers that I can use one for a partial bottle of cooking wine if necessary.

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Bill Spohn

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Bill Spohn » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:50 pm

Paul, if I am alone I often just pump the last 1/3 or so of the bottle rather than finish it. That's not as good as your nitrogen system but it works for a younger wine overnight.

I try not to do that as it can lead to dissension in the ranks. The next day, the remaining wine in the bottle isn't sufficient for both of us, and opening another bottle will still leave us 'out of step'. I have offered to finish the bottle I started but then the sous chef wants something so opening a new bottle will also leave us out of step and for some odd reason known only to her, the thought of me finishing off the premium wine while she has a glass of cooking wine doesn't sit well with her..
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Dale Williams

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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Dale Williams » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:33 pm

I got a Coravin last year for my birthday. Never previously wanted one, but my one regular wine group during Covid meets by Zoom on Mondays. Sometimes rather pricey bottle, or sometimes 2 bottles. As I am often not planning on wine next few nights, Coravin provides an option.

I don't usually keep wine especially for cooking, though I have in past (typically La Vieille Ferme Blanc, $7 but drinkable). Usually if I don't have something open/leftover (rare unless it calls for a lot) there is something I've tried and don't mind sacrificing.
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Jenise » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:48 pm

LVF is a perfect choice for a 'cooking' wine, Dale--cheap, agreeable, and drinkable. I've kinda forgotten about it during Covid because my shopping habits have changed so much. Trader Joe's is the reliable source for those wines, but I'm almost never there.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: "I Have No Wine"

by Paul Winalski » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:46 am

LVF has lately been my go-to red wine for cooking. I rarely cook with white wine, but I'd go with LVF for that, too.

-Paul W.
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