How Long Does Red Wine Last After Opening?
The pleasure of a good red wine is hard to beat. And while in the US, it’s easy to want to keep wine for special occasions, dinner parties or weekends, there’s increasing evidence that making a small glass of wine a part of your daily diet can be beneficial for your heart. As part of the ‘Mediterranean diet’ followed in Italy, France and Spain, red wine can be great for the health as well as the taste buds. But drinking a small glass of wine often means that you may not finish a bottle in a single meal. So how long does red wine last once after opening the bottle?
Red wine aficionados know that each bottle is unique; the complex life of the flavors in the bottle reflect each grape that went into the making of the wine; where the vines grew, how much rain they got, how hot the year was, whether any chemicals were used in cultivating them.
That means that each bottle is different, and a strict rule isn’t easy to give. Instead, here are a few tips on what can make a bottle drinkable or not.
Keep the wine sealed
A bottle of wine is a symphony of flavors, and it develops in the bottle before it’s opened as well as afterwards. One crucial factor is air. Opening a bottle allows the air to react with the natural compounds that make up the wine, and they change slowly over time. Even after you’ve opened a bottle, re-sealing it will help it stay drinkable for longer. Consider buying a specialist wine seal; believe it or not, they can be more effective than the cork or the screw-top at keeping your wine fresh after it’s been opened.
Keep your wine chilled
Heat is another factor that can dramatically change the way a wine tastes. Traditionally wine is kept at ‘cellar temperature’ (about 55 degrees), which is warmer than most refrigerators; but even refrigerating wine will keep it fresh for longer. Some will tell you that refrigerator-temperature wine has a less complex flavor, and you might find that’s true; it’s harder for your tongue to taste the flavors in a cold liquid, but chilling your wine will make it so that you can enjoy it even up to a few days later.
Keep your wine in a low-light environment
The third factor that can affect the way your wine changes after its opened is the light you keep it in. Keeping your wine in a low-light environment (again, like your refrigerator, or a dark cupboard) will help to make sure that it stays calmer, and drinkable, for longer.
If the bottle is just too far gone
Remember, even if you leave your bottle too long for the wine to be enjoyable as a drink, you can still do a lot with old wine as part of a few classic recipes: consider cooking chorizo in it with a little honey and garlic as a tapas dish, or using it in a chicken potroast to make a coq au vin.
P.S. Check out our new blog post on Viognier Wine!