Careful handling of an unfinished bottle of wine is necessary because prolonged contact with air will ruin a wine’s flavor. One way to save leftover wine is to transfer it to a smaller bottle, thereby minimizing airspace. Save empty splits just for this purpose, or use other clean small bottles. Always seal the bottle tightly to keep more air from getting in.
Another option is to “gas” leftover wine. There are several canned pressurized gases on the market today (Private Preserve is the most commonly available) that are a combination of nitrogen (N2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). This heavier-than-air combination is squirted directly into a partially full bottle of wine, thereby blanketing the wine’s surface and protecting it from flavor-destroying oxygen. Such products are available in cans (which feel empty because gas is weightless) in most wine stores and many gourmet specialty shops.
There’s another gadget on the market called a vacuum wine saver (VacuVin), which is designed to remove excess air from a partially full wine bottle. To use it, you simply insert a specially designed reusable rubber stopper in the bottle neck, position a pump over the stopper, and pump up and down until you can feel some resistance (some pumps have an audible “click” when the proper vacuum’s been reached), an indication that the air has been sucked from the bottle, meaning that the bottle is vacuum sealed.
For sparkling wines, a champagne stopper can be found at gourmet shops and wine stores for only about five dollars. This special spring-loaded stopper comes in a couple of styles. One has two metal wings that fold down and over the neck of a sparkling wine bottle; the other simply fits over the bottle neck and a fold-down lever locks in the bubbles.
Store leftover wine--red, white, and sparkling--in the refrigerator and, if possible, drink it within a day or two. If the room temperature is cool (65°F), red wine does not need to be refrigerated.
© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc.
1995 based on THE WINE LOVER'S COMPANION,
by Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst.