Exciting Ways to Use Your Leftover Wine

The jubilant excess of the Christmas period usually sees us stocking up on wine for all the festivities. Moving on from this period, you may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Rather than letting this go to waste, Ideal Wine Company has plenty of tips to put your leftover wine to good use.

Ideal Wine Company leftover wine
You may find yourself with many bottles of unopened and unfinished wine. Here’s how you can put your leftover wine to good use.

Red Wine

When it comes to leftover red wine, its best to remember that you can still drink it for up to 5 days. But after this, it’s time to repurpose that wine for better use. Here are a few options we use to prolong the life of our favourite reds.

  • Boil it – ideal for sauces: A standard tip for leftover wine, but a useful one. Try boiling down your red wine until it is concentrated. From here, pour the mixture into ice cube trays to make handy portion sizes and freeze. This means that you have red wine handy to add to your sauces throughout the year without having to open more bottles and create waste. As well as saving wine, giving your sauces a depth of flavour is made simpler.
  • Poach with it – perfect for leftover fruit: If you find yourself with leftover fruit, poaching it in wine creates a simple yet delicious dessert. Pears and prunes, for example, are great vehicles for a good red wine.
  • Mull it – brings new life: Mulling your red wine will undoubtedly uplift your old wine into something enjoyable again. The addition of spices brings a warming quality to your red, while the citrusy notes keep it interesting.
  • Cook with it – great for leftovers: With all the meats at Christmas, many of us choose to make a casserole with the leftovers. A good slosh of red wine can liven up any dish and bring new life to your food.

White wine

White wine can last up to 7 days once it’s open but can turn brown or take on a vinegary taste after this. Therefore, it’s best to act sooner to avoid this. The same principles of red wine generally apply to your leftover white wine. It’s worth remembering that white wine generally pairs better with lighter food, so here are a few tips on how to adjust these standards for white.

  • Leftovers – stick to white meats: While white wine can work well with different hot meats, it is best to stick with white meats like turkey when cold. This lightness works well with a delicate meat, but may be overwhelmed by red meats. This same rule applies if you are making a casserole or pie out of your leftovers.
  • Cooking with it – wonderful with fish: As the new year comes around and we try to be healthy, a lot of us may see an injection of fish into our diet. When cooking fish, a splash of white wine can bring acidity and zesty flavours. Your leftover white would be useful here.

Sparkling wine

While this may be the wine of choice around the festive season, it can be hard to know what to do with leftovers. Champagne can last up to 5 days after opening, while Prosecco is good for a shorter period of 3 days. Proper storage in the fridge with a cover is key and you should act fast.

While sparkling wine can follow the advice of white wine, it is not a great showcase for the wine. Try making a delicate jelly with your leftover sparkling wine. This still gives the flavours a chance to shine, while prolonging the life.

In general, the golden rule to remember with using leftover wine is how much did you enjoy it. If it is leftover because no one liked it, it’s not worth saving. Similarly, if it has gone bad and the flavours have changed dramatically, it may be beyond saving.

How do the wine fanatics taste wine?

We all at one point in our lives try to be sophisticated and learn how to taste wine. But is it more scientific than you may have first thought? Ideal Wine Company has learnt of the proper way to taste wine, and here’s how you can start practising.

Ideal Wine Company wine tasting
How do we taste wine?

The science behind it

Gordon Shepherd, a professor of neuroscience at Yale University, claims in his new book (Neuroenology: How The Brain Creates The Taste of Wine) that our sensory response to food and wine combine to create what we think if as flavour in things that don’t directly possess it. He says, “the molecules in wine don’t have taste or flavour, but when they stimulate our brains, the brain creates flavour the same way it creates colour”.

The brain creates colour by responding to the effects produced when light hits the object we see, however they are actually colourless. There are two movements that activate the brain when creating the flavour perception of wine; the movement of wine through the mouth and the movement of air through the nose and throat. However, the most important aspect isn’t from our sense of smell when we sniff the wine like we believe, but from the molecules released in our mouth when we breathe out.

Shephard says, “nosing a wine requires exquisite control of one of the biggest muscles in the body”, as well as swirling the wine in your mouth engages the intricate muscles that control the tongue as well as stimulating thousands of taste and smell receptors.

He told The Times that “swallowing a wine is vital for obtaining the most information possible about the quality of a wine”. His research found that after just a few sips of wine, the brain gets saturated with information which makes it hard to process the flavour of the wine being drunk.

Tasting wine

There are four basic steps to tasting wine, they are used all over the world and are used by sommeliers to refine their palates and sharpen their ability to recall wines. The steps are as follows:

  • Look – a visual inspection of the wine under neutral lighting.
  • Smell – identify aromas through orthonasal olfaction (breathing through your nose).
  • Taste – assess both the taste structure (sour, bitter, sweet) and flavours derived from retronasal olfaction (breathing with the back of your nose).
  • Think/conclude – develop a complete profile of a wine that can be stored in your long-term memory.

If you’re still unsure of how exactly to taste wine, check out our blog on how to act when wine tasting here.