Can’t finish a bottle in one sitting? Here’s what to do with leftover wine

Sometimes a bottle of wine just doesn’t get finished in a single night. In those cases, I say: Embrace the lifestyle of wine leftovers.

At any given moment, I always have several partially empty bottles of wine in my kitchen. Half a bottle of Pinot Noir here, an inch’s worth of Chardonnay there. I feel no pressure to finish any bottle on any particular timeframe.

Most of the time, these odds and ends do eventually get consumed. I love revisiting wines after they’ve been open for a few days to see how they evolve (or disintegrate, as the case may be). I’m always moving back and forth between my various partial bottles: a cold glass of white while I’m cooking, a more substantial red with dinner.

It’s a myth that wine won’t last past the day it’s opened. You’d be surprised how long some wines can stay fresh, especially high-acid wines like Riesling, which can go for a week or more. Many wines taste better the next day, especially young, tannic red wines, whose tight grip tends to loosen up after a day or two’s worth of oxygen exposure. I’ve written before about the various wine-preservation devices available, and my favorite method is still the simplest: Stick the cork back in the bottle and keep it in the fridge.

But sometimes a bottle isn’t worth finishing, and that’s OK too. I revel in the leftovers lifestyle in part because I love the feeling of skirting commitment, the freedom to not finish a disappointing wine just because the cork happens to be removed. Liberate yourself from that shackle!

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