26 November, 2010

What To Do With All the Leftover (Wine, that is!)

While most are looking into their fridges pondering what the next variation on turkey and stuffing they can muster the strength to push down their gullets, I'm guessing that, if you're like me, you tried several different bottles last nite (or the nite before that, or the nite before that....) and perhaps you just didn't finish the last half of a bottle...for whatever reason...

No worries! It's OK to have leftovers of wine!

There are a few things we can do with leftover wine, so before you pour it down the drain, take a minute to think about doing one of the following:

1) Save it for later.
If it's a bottle you enjoyed and you just didn't get around to finishing because your head was already spinning, or Aunt Bessie made you spend the last 2 hours customizing a doggie-platter for her, don't think you have to toss the bottle.

Oxygen is the enemy of wine, at least in the short-term here, so we don't want to just re-cork the wine and let it sit. I like a couple of options. A vacuum pump is a perfect idea and there are a number of models available. I happen to prefer the vacu-vin, but most are very inexpensive and remove all the oxygen from the bottle. Another idea is a spray bottle of nitrogen. Just shoot a bit into the bottle and quickly replace the cork. The inert gas will remove the oxygen and will prevent oxidization.Also, I prefer to keep my leftover bottles in my wine fridge rather than leaving out on the counter.

2) Sangria
(c) colonnade
I LOVE sangria and it's a perfect place to use an extra 1/2 bottle or several. When adding sugar, fruit and brandy to your sangria, the subtleties of the wine will obviously be hidden, so don't stress on the details here. Save up a few leftover bottles and when the time is right, try this recipe for an excellent truly Spanish styled example. Mmmm. Leftovers and Brandy!

3) I said "Mull It, not Mullet"
Several friends just got back from Prague where one of their favorite things was the street cart selling warm mulled wine. Mulling spices are great and go super with red wine, so try a mulling recipe or two on a cold fall or winter evening with your leftovers.

4) Vinegar!
(c) markyboy81
Not much is easier to do than to make vinegar out of wine....just ask a budding winemaker of two...you just have to let it be (well, pretty much). Making red wine vinegar to use in salad dressings is ridiculously easy and it tastes super! Start your own solera today..we Spaniards have been doing it for centuries...beware of the slimy bits, however :-)

So, save the drain, especially if you're on a septic system and use your leftovers..it's a great, green and artisinal way to enjoy what was yesterday's bottle, today or tomorrow!


  1. Never done the mulled wine thing. Or the mullet wine thing.

    I imagine the former is great on a cold night. The latter is just weird.


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