The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:34 pm

How long can you keep leftover wine?

How long can you keep leftover wine once you've opened the bottle? In my standard reply to this frequently asked question, I try to discourage folks from overdoing it:

The short answer, I'm afraid, is, "not very long." Wine, like fresh fruit, is perishable, and air is its enemy. Once you've taken out the cork and exposed the liquid to oxygen, it starts to deteriorate fast.

Wine shops sell preservation systems that suck the air out of opened bottles or squirt inert gases in, but I wouldn't spend the money or effort. They offer little if any advantage over simply jamming the cork back into the half-finished bottle. It will hold at room temperature for a day or two before its flavor starts to deteriorate seriously. Pop it in the fridge, and it might last for a week or two. Fortified wines like Port or Sherry may last a little longer, but much more than a week is pushing it.

Your best bet is simply to finish your wine within a couple of days ... use the leftovers for cooking ... or invite friends over to share.

That's my standard advice, anyway. But always being one to test the conventional wisdom - even my own - I ran a simple experiment. Over several nights, I took care to leave about a half-bottle of each evening's wine, casually stored on the kitchen counter with the corks stuck back in. I let them go for about five days before re-tasting, then checked them again after a full week or more had passed.

Of course the wines changed over time, but somewhat to my surprise, none of the three deterioriated as quickly as I thought they would, and all remained at least drinkable after a week to 10 days, and at least two of the three arguably became a bit more accessible with extended airing. Perhaps it's more than a coincidence that all three were fairly robust reds with at least limited cellar potential.

Here's a quick look at the three wines and how they fared in the open bottle:

<B>Simon Bize 2002 Bourgogne "Les Perrières"</B> ($16.99) - A simple Burgundy but a good one, it's clear, dark ruby in color, initially showing clear dark ruby color, attractive red-cherry aromas with a hint of smoke, and juicy and fresh flavors of tart fruit and crisp acidity in good balance. Four days later, its fruit had faded a bit, bringing its earthy character into sharper focus, which was not a bad thing. With clean fruit and crisp acidity, it was changed a little but just as good as new. Four days later, the first hints of incipient oxidation actually seemed to heighten the fruit and make the wine accessible, but I wouldn't hold it longer, as the first signs of the walnutty, "cheap-Sherry" character of oxidized wines were starting to show.

<B>Domaine Paul Autard 2004 Côtes du Rhône</b> ($14) - A hearty, "chewy" little brother to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, it's dark garnet in color with a reddish-violet edge. On first tasting, its aroma evokes Chambord raspberry liqueur, warm and ripe. Full-bodied, red-berry fruit and subtle earth and sufficient acidity are softened by abundant fruit and structured by slight, drying tannins, with 14.5 percent alcohol contributing body without excessive heat. Five days later it showed no hint of oxidation and in fact seemed to be shutting down and slosing a bit. Still, it was in no way deteriorating, with appealing black fruit and fragrant pepper on the nose and palate. Only the faintest touch of oxidation showed five days after that, emulating maturity rather than decay, and the fruit was opening up again in a ripe, structured wine. It's arguable that 10 days in the bottle actually improved this wine, although I wouldn't let it go much longer.

<B>Sean H. Thackrey Pleiades XIII Old Vines </b> ($23.49) - Featured in the Dec. 11 <I>Wine Advisor</i>, this fine California red blend earned my praise for its bold cherry-berry flavors, although I declared it a bit more fruit-driven and not quite as attractively earthy as some prior bottlings. After six days in the open bottle, however, it was much more like Pleiades of yore, with earthy and complex flavor nuances joining the fruit and only the faintest whiff of appropriate, mature-wine oxidation whispering at the edges.

Summed up, I still don't recommend keeping wine for weeks or longer once the cork has been pulled, and I'd urge erring on the side of caution by enjoying the rest of your bottle at the next reasonable opportunity. And do use the fridge to extend its lifespan a bit. But don't panic if you can't get back to the wine the next day. And remember, even if your wine gets too old to enjoy, it can't hurt you. Wine may lose its flavor and become flat, dull and unenjoyable after sufficient time in the open bottle, but it won't turn toxic.
User avatar
User

Ian Sutton

Rank

Spanna in the works

Posts

3652

Joined

Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm

Location

Norwich, UK

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Ian Sutton » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:06 pm

Robin
Good thread choice.
We regularly drink a bottle over two different night (we're such lightweights :oops: ). Often it's consecutive nights, but we've gone as long as 10 days on a couple of ultra-tight wines (interestingly both of these wines had improved, but where peak was, who knows).

Our technique is to decant into a half bottle (often before pouring the wine into the glasses) and recork with the cork the bottle came in. Whilst the effect of pouring into the glass is similar to a gentle decant, it doesn't seem to accelerate the process too much.

One final caveat. Most of the wine we drink is of the 'cellaring' type - i.e. it's got enough structure to survive a little oxygen.

regards

Ian
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:27 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Our technique is to decant into a half bottle (often before pouring the wine into the glasses) and recork with the cork the bottle came in. Whilst the effect of pouring into the glass is similar to a gentle decant, it doesn't seem to accelerate the process too much.


Ian, this is a very good technique, perhaps the best for protecting the wine.

As a practical matter, though, I skipped over it in today's article, thinking that many people - particularly the relative novice wine geeks who are most likely to ask this question - aren't interested in any procedure more complicated than putting the cork back in.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bob Ross » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:41 pm

I've been amazed how long wine will last just putting the cork back in and leaving it in a cold refrigerator, Robin. [About 45F.] A week or even ten days works for robust wines -- zins, shiraz, etc.

In Australia four Januaries ago, it was very common to see shiraz and shiraz blends on the kitchen counter left out for three, four or five days. And the temps were summertime levels, no A/C, too.

Not recommending the technique, but if I forget a wine, I always taste before pouring it out. Magic often happens.
no avatar
User

David Creighton

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1241

Joined

Wed May 24, 2006 11:07 am

Location

ann arbor, michigan

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by David Creighton » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:54 pm

i bought a couple of screw cap slit bottles of cooks champagne - poured out the champagne and put my left over red wine in one or more of them - always trying to fill to the very top. for whites, i just leave them open - not even recorked in the frig and they last for daaaaaaays!
david creighton
User avatar
User

Sue Courtney

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1967

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:33 pm

Location

Auckland, NZ

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Sue Courtney » Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:54 pm

Hi Robin,

"none of the three deteriorated as quickly as I thought they would..."

I wonder if that is something to do with modern winemaking?

Botrytis sweeties will keep in excellent condition for ages. We recorked and put an unfinished bottle in the fridge and found it six months later - and it still tasted delicious.

Another thing I've found is that new vintage whites under screwcap can last for weeks, especially some sauv blancs - and I don’t refrigerate them either.

I've been utterly surprised at how long some young wines (both red & white) will keep after being opened.

I also blend leftovers of the same varietal to have full bottles, if I like the wine in the first place. Those I don’t like go down the sink.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:30 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:I wonder if that is something to do with modern winemaking?


I wondered that too, Sue ... much greater attention to sanitation than in the past, for instance. But I didn't feel I had enough data to speculate on that, and the fact that all three wines were rather robust reds seemed like a more obvious variable.
no avatar
User

Bill Hooper

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

2089

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:46 am

Location

McMinnville, OR

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bill Hooper » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:30 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Sue Courtney wrote:I wonder if that is something to do with modern winemaking?


I wondered that too, Sue ... much greater attention to sanitation than in the past, for instance. But I didn't feel I had enough data to speculate on that, and the fact that all three wines were rather robust reds seemed like a more obvious variable.



There is a well documented case of a cask of Austrian Trockenbeerenauslese from the 1526 vintage being consumed without oxidation (or very little anyway) until 1852. The cask was filled little by little with pebbles after each glass was extracted, taking up the vacant airspace. Of course TBA doesn't oxidize as quickly as red wine, but it's very cool none the less. I made the suggestion to a friend last week who just purchased a magnum of Kracher No. 6. Maybe it's time to ditch the vacu-vin for a handful of dirt.


Prost!
Bill
User avatar
User

Bob Henrick

Rank

Kamado Kommander

Posts

3983

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:35 pm

Location

Lexington, Ky.

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bob Henrick » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:02 pm

Keeping left over wine is a subject that I have posted on several times over the years. Both here and in other web places about freezing wine. I have frozen it for as long as six months, with no ill effect. If there is any loss it might be that it will throw some tartrate crystals if it was not cold stabilized. SO My answer is longer than you think.
Bob Henrick
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bob Ross » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:18 am

Hey, Bill, that's a neat story. People have suggested that pouring half a 750 into a 375 aereates the wine and speeds up aging. I wonder if it would be better to add small glass marbles to the half empty 750 to bring the fill up to the top.

That seems worth trying. I'll revert in six months on the experiment.

Thanks for an interesting idea.
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:05 am

Bob Ross wrote:I wonder if it would be better to add small glass marbles to the half empty 750 to bring the fill up to the top.


I did that for a <I>Louisville Times</i> wine column back in the early '80s. It worked, but was a lot of trouble, and I didn't try it for long-term aging. The wine was fine after two or three weeks, as I recall.
User avatar
User

Bernard Roth

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

805

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:31 pm

Location

Santa Barbara, CA

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bernard Roth » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:22 am

The wines that I find keep best, refrigerated, for a week or longer are dessert wines. I rarely find that a red wine will drink well after 3-4 days. Riesling can keep over a week in the fridge. Few other whites keep well that long.

Quiz...

How long have I kept a bottle open in the fridge without it going bad?
Regards,
Bernard Roth
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Bob Ross » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:26 am

"I did that for a Louisville Times wine column back in the early '80s. It worked, but was a lot of trouble, ..."

Wow, thanks, Robin. Saved me some work, you did. :)
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:59 am

Bob Ross wrote:Wow, thanks, Robin. Saved me some work, you did. :)


But Bob, there are still worlds to conquer! I only tried it for shorter-term keeping! Six months opens a whole new horizon. ;)
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:01 am

Bernard Roth wrote:I rarely find that a red wine will drink well after 3-4 days.


Sounds like either your experience was a little different than mine, Bernie, or you have more critical taste buds. As I wrote, I was surprised to find that three reds drank well - albeit showing changes, not necessarily negative changes - for as long as 5 to 10 days. This surprised me, but it was consistent across a small sample of three wines, all rather robust reds, not refrigerated.
User avatar
User

Howie Hart

Rank

The Hart of Buffalo

Posts

5996

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm

Location

Niagara Falls, NY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Howie Hart » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:34 am

Robin - After NiagaraCOOL '06 (June) I ended up with about 12 various bottles of Riesling with differeing levels of fullness. I combined similar styles to fill bottles and stored them upright in the door of my fridge. By September, there were still 2 or 3 there, as I was getting sick of Riesling. I used a lot of it for cooking. Over Thanksgiving, while I was out of town, my son drank the last bottle and pronounced it "decent". 8)
no avatar
User

Tim York

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

3989

Joined

Tue May 09, 2006 3:48 pm

Location

near Lisieux, France

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Tim York » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:02 pm

Robin, I think that you under-estimate the ability of some fortified wine to hold in an opened bottle.

My most remarkable experience came with a bottle of dry robust Oloroso sherry which had been opened and re-corked by the importer with a small tasting sample having been consumed. My supplier, who had not noticed this, replaced the bottle. Some months later out of curiosity I sampled the opened bottle, which had remained upright in my cellar, and was surprised by how good it was; indeed not much different from a regular bottle 3 or 4 days after opening, which is usually better than on the first day; I finished it with great pleasure over the next few days.

I guess that an Amontillado, Palo Cortado, tawny port or oxidative Banyuls and Maury might also cope with this treatment quite well and a sweeter sherry even better.

On the other hand I do agree that a delicate and fresh fino or Manzanilla sherry fades very rapidly, even in an unopened bottle.
Tim York
User avatar
User

Robin Garr

Rank

Forum Janitor

Posts

17548

Joined

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm

Location

Louisville, KY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:09 pm

Tim York wrote:Robin, I think that you under-estimate the ability of some fortified wine to hold in an opened bottle.


Tim, I have no reason to doubt that fortified wines - and more specifically, fortifieds made in a naturally oxidized style, like the darker Sherries, Marsala and most Madeiras - will hold up unusually well in an open bottle simply because they are already oxidized and (perhaps) can't support much more of a chemical reaction than they have already undergone.

That said, though, in my experience even Amontillados and Olorosos do tend eventually to lose some of their complexity and character once the cork has been pulled, and I've seen some pretty bleak fluid come out of dusty decanters that have been left on a sideboard since the previous Christmas. :roll:
no avatar
User

Tim York

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

3989

Joined

Tue May 09, 2006 3:48 pm

Location

near Lisieux, France

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Tim York » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:29 pm

Your mention of dusty decanters (and even dustier sherry) reawakens memories of visits to Victorian aunts to some an extent that I can see their, even then, old fashioned drawing rooms in my mind's eye. A Proustian flash back!
Tim York
no avatar
User

keith prothero

Rank

Wine geek

Posts

68

Joined

Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:21 pm

Location

UK and South Africa

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by keith prothero » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:08 pm

I have to admit that if I ever have a problem with unfinished wine,it is more than likely to be the second bottle rather than the first----my my that Sutton fellow is certainly a wimp :lol:
When I have a couple of halves left over,I sometimes just put the one in the other,and the blend often tastes great the next day!!--try it.
Otherwise,I am of the view,that wine does indeed deteriorate,and hence as likely as not,the wine will be used for cooking or end up down the sink after a week or so.
no avatar
User

Manuel Camblor

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

265

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:23 pm

Location

New York, NY

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Manuel Camblor » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:14 pm

Well, Robin, I must say that I have witnessed quite a few wines which not only did not deteriorate "quickly" when recorked and stashed in the fridge, but that got significantly better after a couple of weeks of old oxygen.

There was one experience at Jayson Cohen's house, where he proferred a bottle of 1998 Roilette Fléurie that had, acoording to him, been open in his fridge for two whole weeks. The wine was beautiful. It really sang. I kid you not. Rather than a loss of freshness and the emergence of oxidative nasties, it was all flowers, earth and joyful fruit.

Other experiences come from my own fridge, with bottles of Austrian, Alsatian or German rieslings that have gone from strength to strngth over weeks. And a bunch of Loire reds, too. And Vouvrays...

Of course, the one kind of iwne you can't beat hwen it comes to kicking the living shit out of the elements is Madeira. I've had bottles that I've recorked and stored at room temperature, which have just gotten better and better over six months.

Then again, these are the exceptions. Most iwne produced these days I wouldn't keep in my fridge for more than a couple of days. And considering how little I actually like from what I get to try that is made by unproven producers all over the world, plus the actual price of Manhattan real estate (my fridge is in Manhattan, after all), I find myself feeding the kitchen drain a lot of nasty pseudo-wine...[/b]
Best,

LL
User avatar
User

Glenn Mackles

Rank

Ultra geek

Posts

260

Joined

Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Virginia

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Glenn Mackles » Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:55 pm

All I can say is that I opened a bottle of nice 1st Cru Burgundy on Friday night. There were about 2 glasses left at the end of the evening. I got distracted and left the stoppered bottle standing upright on my kitchen counter. I "discovered" it again last night (Monday). I poured myself a glass and it was just fine, and in fact, not much different than I remembered from Friday. I rountinely find a couple of days is just fine and wine just doesn't generally last any longer than that around my house.

Glenn
"If you can find something everyone agrees on, it's wrong." Mo Udall
User avatar
User

Ian Sutton

Rank

Spanna in the works

Posts

3652

Joined

Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm

Location

Norwich, UK

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Ian Sutton » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:06 pm

Bob Ross wrote: I wonder if it would be better to add small glass marbles to the half empty 750 to bring the fill up to the top.

Be careful with the Riedels when you pour it out again :wink:
User avatar
User

Sue Courtney

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1967

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:33 pm

Location

Auckland, NZ

Re: WTN/ WineAdvisor: How long can you keep leftover wine?

by Sue Courtney » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:10 pm

Manuel Camblor wrote: ..... I must say that I have witnessed quite a few wines which not only did not deteriorate "quickly" when recorked and stashed in the fridge, but that got significantly better after a couple of weeks of old oxygen.


Significantly better - I've seen that too - especially with young reds and even some young whites - e.g. pinot gris under screwcap. With some of these wines you may as well just open them the day before, as they are so much more pleasurable and less demand on the wrist (i.e. contstant swirling action) to try and get the wines to open up.

But it's the old wines that deteriorate quickly. I remember one 30 year old white that half an hour after opening had deteriorated to a sherry-like (and not a good one), aldehydic drop. In fact, it was a miracle it was actually drinkable when first opened.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign