Is wine easy to preserve? There are all sorts of elaborate wine preservation systems that restaurants and bars use, but these can be costly. Here are a few inexpensive tips that I find useful for saving the remaining glass or two in the bottle. The reason that wine deteriorates after it is opened is because it is exposed to oxygen in the air. Oxygen degrades the wine. So the key is to minimize the wine's exposure to oxygen. Here are a few ways to do this.1. Invest in a Vacu Vin pump and 2-3 stoppers. It will cost you less than $20 in total. You can use then over and over again. All you do is put the stopper in the unfinished wine bottle, and then pump out the air until you feel it secure and tight. This usually keeps the wine fresh for two to three days. These are not for sparkling wines.
2. Keep a batch of half bottles with screw caps. Instead of leaving a half bottle of wine in its original bottle pour it into a smaller bottle, so that the bottle is full. Full means no room for air to remain and attack your wine. I've kept wines fresh for over a week by doing this. A few stick on labels and you can easily remember which wine is in which little bottle.
3. Keep the opened bottles in the refrigerator, even if it is red wine. Just take it out an hour before you plan to drink it.
Wine is expensive, and we don't want to waste it. Hopefully, these tips will be useful.
Vacu Vin supplies are available from most good wine stores, and houseware stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond, The Container Store, Amazon.com etc.Meanwhile, here are two great value wines that I have enjoyed this week.
• 2006 Quatro Pasos ($15) - from D.O Bierzo in Northwestern Spain. It is made 100% from the local Mencia grape. Full of ripe black and red fruits, raspberry, plum, blackberry with hints of coffee and smoke. Lovely smooth tannins. We enjoyed it with a good old-fashioned Lasagne Bolognese that my husband made at the week-end.
• 2005 Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz ($10) - from South Eastern Australia. Upfront and fruity, brimming with rich, ripe, black plum and cherry fruit, mint chocolate and sweet spices. Lush, velvet mouthfeel. We had this with blackened char-grilled swordfish.
Until next week, enjoy some good wine.
(Images: TerraCotta Journeys; Amazon.com)