Wine Talk

Snooth User: dynowine

Post-opening Wine preservation for the rest of us

Posted by dynowine, Mar 13, 2010.

I believe to have found maybe the best way to preserve, and in some cases improve, most wines after opening:  vacuum cork right away and pop into the refrigerator.   No other method I've tried seems to work better.   I'm sure I'm not the first person to notice.

Wines seem to age in that state, albeit more slowly than in a decanter, so any wines that need an hour or two of decanter time will last in the refrigator (vacuum corked) for maybe 5 or 6 days, or so I've observed.  The wines evolve and sometimes will present as a delicious but different wine after 2-3 days.   The better the wine's potential for aging (a 15 yrs horizon vs 4 yrs), the better it seems to hold up in the vacuum-refrigerator state.

FYI to drink at proper temperature pour into a short glass and microwave for not more than six (6) seconds at higher power to bring the temperature up to about the right level for a red.

As a related aside, a well-to-do lawyer always on the hunt for superior wines has the 24-hour uncorked test:  he opens, samples, and re-corks at room temp each bottle of interest; if the bottle tastes better in this state after 24 hr, he believes the wine will age very well pre-opened in his cellar and therefore would be a good culinary or monetary investment.

I think the refrigerator test is similar, but you have to wait a few more days to see how the wine improves.

Best vacuum-refrg candidates are big red blends (rhones, bordeaux's, similar, followed by petit sirah, zinfandel, and finally the ligher reds and whites which often but not always do not seem to last more than two days in the vacuum-refrigerator state).

 

 

Replies

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Reply by gregt, Mar 13, 2010.

There are a number of threads on this.  Try this - take 2 bottles, pour a glass out of each.  Seal one with the vacuum sealer, the other with the cork, and put both in the fridge.

If you want to avoid bottle variation, mix the two and then put back in the bottles and seal as above.  There won't be a difference.

Try it again with one in and one out of the fridge.  A better approach is decant into a half bottle and then seal.  The cold matters more than the type of seal.

"As a related aside, a well-to-do lawyer always on the hunt for superior wines has the 24-hour uncorked test:  he opens, samples, and re-corks at room temp each bottle of interest; if the bottle tastes better in this state after 24 hr, he believes the wine will age very well pre-opened in his cellar and therefore would be a good culinary or monetary investment."

He believes the wine will age very well pre-opened in his cellar?  Who would age wine like that and why?

 

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Reply by penguinoid, Mar 13, 2010.

My guess is that the well-to-do lawyer is a Mr R. Parker, who is quite well known for his wine critiscism. I've read he leaves wines he is testing open overnight as a rough guide to age-worthiness. I think the orginal poster might have meant "will age very well unopened in his cellar", though. Or is using pre-opened to mean not yet opened.

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Reply by dynowine, Mar 13, 2010.

Thanks to GregT and penguinoid ... well, I meant unopened.  Preopened, that would age them fast wouldn't it?

I'd like to try to the cold vs. warm experiment, except that means opening two bottles, more than I could ever drink in two days.  Perhaps some Crane Lake is worth the sacrifice.  

If cold is the main factor, a lot of small wine shops near me are making mistakes not preserving the wines in the frig until their next tasting day.

Two shops here have Napa Technology wine preservation machines, which use inert gas and special seals, plus temperature control, to keep the wines in top shape for several weeks.   Since the setpoint temperatures are something like 50 to 60 deg F, my guess is the sealing system and inert gas is primarily what preserves the state of the wine.

 

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 14, 2010.

"FYI to drink at proper temperature pour into a short glass and microwave for not more than six (6) seconds at higher power to bring the temperature up to about the right level for a red."

 

Why exactly do you want to microwave the wine? Judging by what happens to other forms of food that get zapped, not just solids but also liquids, I think that's one of the last things I'd like to do to a fine wine. And fine wine, in my cosmos, is not a fast food.

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Reply by penguinoid, Mar 14, 2010.

I hadn't noticed that. Yes, microwaving wine seems at best unecissary ...

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Reply by dynowine, Mar 15, 2010.

Refrigerator - after 4 days (Este Alto Almanzora Blend 2007) and 3 days (Montirius CdR 2007) in the refrigerator, vacuum-corked, these wines tasted progressively better and different; i would "raise their scores" 5 pts.  Their rough edges came off (e.g. the wintergreen flavor in the 2nd wine) and the integration of all the pieces tightened and improved.  Perhaps the cold is the key, either way, the wines just improved markedly.   Even better, each was different day by day, so we received more entertainment and education per bottle.

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Reply by dmcker, Mar 15, 2010.

What you're seeing is a telescoped version of the aging process--how any well structured wine can taste better five or 10 years (or more, depending on the wine) later then when first released. You're experiencing the results of oxidation, though a battened down process limited by the lower temperature and the vacuum. If you were able to take precise notes for each day on multiple occasions, then taste a few bottles of the same wine two or three or five or more years down the line, it would be interesting to compare the notes then with the notes now from the refrigerated wine.

My guess is you'd like the wine better in five years than after three or four days in the fridge. Personally, I don't like some of the effects that surface after more than a day or two stored that way.

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Reply by gregt, Mar 16, 2010.

Dyno - thanks for clarifying.  I really thought you meant to open the bottles and cellar and that seemed too weird not to ask about.  I'd never heard of it before!

But your point about the small wine shops is right on the money.  I think most wine shops in the US keep their wine too warm.  Actually most wine shops period - I've been to stores in Europe and they just leave the doors open if it's a sweltering summer day.  AC is more popular in the US.

The gas preservation system is good, but for the homeowner who doesn't have the money, the fridge is the best wine storage system I've found.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Mar 16, 2010.

I agree about the Vacu-Vin.  Simply recorking doesn't work for me, I can always notice the flabbiness resulting from the air getting trapped in by the regular cork.  Maybe I am uber picky, but I do prefer to suck out as much air as possible to seal and save it for a few days.  It stays much more fresh that way I find.

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Reply by homestar, Sep 23, 2011.

What if you open a wine and wish you'd left it in the bottle for a few more years?  do you think that topping it off, recorking it, sealing it with wax will allow it to continue aging unspoiled? will leaving the partly diminished bottle in the fridge overnight allow too much oxygen in to "recork" in this way?

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Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 24, 2011.

But your point about the small wine shops is right on the money.  I think most wine shops in the US keep their wine too warm. 

Not this wine shop, though I do agree most shops seem to not worry about the wine temperature.  (This holds true in most restaurants too.  The wine is kept in a closet or liquor room, upright, at about 70 degrees most of the time.)  I work for 8 hours a day in constant 64 degrees, whether it's summer or winter.  I keep sweaters handy at all times.  I appreciate the temperature on wine delivery day, when I'm putting away several hundred bottles of wine and lifting and carrying cases of wine all over the store. 

Honestly, we so rarely have leftover wine.  IF we do, we use our vacuvin and put the wine in the fridge.  If we go back to it a few days later and it just isn't as good, it gets cooked with. 

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Sep 24, 2011.

This was a great read, glad the thread was dug up.  I've stuck to the re-corking/ fridge option for storing open bottles at home, though I don't have much to show for it. I'm finding when I do this it tends to be with every day drinkers, and days later i'm rarely motivated to re-taste. 

Does anyone know the differences in technology between vacu-vin and enomatic wine tasting machines? I've had mostly good experiences with enomatic, though it's hard to believe the claim on their website:

"Our patented technology enables a bottle of wine to be opened and protected from oxidation. Even after 3 weeks the wine tastes as if the bottle has just been opened."

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Reply by dmcker, Sep 25, 2011.

Quite a few other threads on this subject, Jon, if you use the Search function upper right....


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