Nobody wants to waste wine, but there are times when a bottle is too much. How do you keep the remainder fresh? It depends on what kind you have open. Well-aged bottles from the cellar are a different story than the supermarket red you brought home for dinner. These tricks and gadgets will help you get the most of your pour, no matter the style.
Young Red Wines
Many young red wines need to breathe when they’re first opened, and the Savino Wine Preserver is a clever improvement on a standard decanter. The glass tube features a floating gasket and a flat glass top. Fill it with your just-opened bottle and let it aerate. When the wine’s opened up a bit, insert the gasket and pour a glass or two. Though not a perfect seal, it’s good enough, and the remaining wine will keep for several days, in a cool place and out of direct light.
Sweet and Fortified Wines
Thanks to their residual sugar and/or added spirits, sweet and fortified wines last a long time once opened. The Preservino Wine Preserving Kit will extend their drinking life almost indefinitely. Once uncorked, pour a glass or two and put the stopper in place. The easy-to-use injector replaces the missing wine with argon gas. Store the bottle in your wine cellar (not your refrigerator), or in any cool, dry cabinet protected from sunlight or heat.
Wines from the Cellar
All too often, your best bottles get stuck in wine cellar purgatory as you await the right moment to open them. Coravin’s ingenious solution allows you to taste a glass without pulling the cork. It inserts a needle through the cork, allowing you to pour as much as you like. The stolen wine is replaced with argon gas, which preserves the remaining wine for a week or longer. Coravin’s most affordable option is the Model One. It looks like a piece of medical gear, has Ikea-like instructions and requires a bit of practice. But it works well, and for rare and valuable old wines, it’s worth the price.
Young White Wines
For dry, highly acidic white wines fermented in stainless steel, try the half-bottle trick. Start with a clean, empty 375-ml bottle. As soon as you open a 750-ml bottle, fill up the empty container and seal it. The wine in the smaller bottle will keep fresh for up to three days. A vacuum pump is also an option: It removes the air, but does not replace it with a neutral gas. Use it on your oaky, rich white wines, and it will modestly improve their staying power for a couple of days.
Sparkling Wines and Rosés
Due to their effervescence and acidity, sparkling wines have surprising staying power. A simple metal Champagne stopper will keep your wine fresh for several days. Generally unencumbered by heavy tannins, high alcohol levels or extensive barrel aging, rosés are young, fresh wines with a shelf life of 2–3 days once opened. For either, put the stopper, cork or screw cap on the bottle immediately after pouring, keep it in the fridge and drink in the next day or two.