Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 07/01/2016

How to keep an opened bottle of wine?


What to do with leftover wine? This dilemma is known for all wine lovers, especially for those who believe that a couple of glasses a day are beneficial to our health. Below is a guide on how to preserve a partially consumed bottle.

With a classic 750 ml bottle, you can pour from six to twelve glasses of wine, so if you are celebrating with a group of friends or family you probably won’t need to continue reading this article. But all wine lovers who share a couple of drinks in daily life, or uncork a bottle to experience how it works with a particular cheese, experience periodically this dilemma: what to do with a bottle of wine once opened?

Why an open wine bottle loses its qualities?

It would be wonderful that an opened wine bottle wouldn’t  experience changes in taste and may be preserved intact for days in the refrigerator. But wine, like all of us, is subject to the laws of biology, chemistry and physics. With the passage of time wine inevitably transforms into vinegar. This phenomenon occurs because acetic acid bacteria consume alcohol and metabolizes it into acetic acid and acetaldehyde. The more air, the more the bacteria work. This causes our wine to acquire a strong sour smell and even a spicy flavor, like a bitten apple, which is left forgotten.

To avoid this phenomenon (or at least to delay it) we must protect the wine and store it in special conditions. First, we have to keep it in the refrigerator. At low temperatures the bacteria work much slower. Second, the bottle must be tightly closed.

Cork or screw cap?

If you close the bottle with its original cork do not forget to push it well into the neck of the bottle. Thus you slow air access. Wines closed with screw cap are generally easier to keep for several days, as this technology reduces the oxygen exchange with the outside almost to zero. You can even recap the wine and store it in the refrigerator up to two weeks. So we can keep all its freshness and flavors.

What wines last the longest?

Each style of wine has a different consumption time after opening. Usually three to five days is a safe period, always remembering to leave the bottle well closed and kept at low temperatures.

espumante mandamientosThe most sensitive wines styles, and which shouldn’t be kept open for more than three days, are very old vintages (they are more delicate and fragile wines), Pinot Noir (is one of more sensitive strains in the world) and natural wine ( they are not treated with this inert gas called sulfur that protects the wine from oxidation).

With sparkling wines, such as Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection Brut, we must be especially careful. After opening the bottle bubbles escape. Inevitably after a day or two it will turn into a still wine. In this case I recommend buying a specialized wine stopper (a type of screw specially designed for sparkling wine). This tool keeps the bubbles for longer.

The other wines which lose their attributes faster are full bodied wines with naturally low acidity. These usually may be left four days in the refrigerator. The acidity is very important to wines because it means longer life for them. For example, Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon or Trio Cabernet Sauvignon may remain in good condition for five days.

If you like to drink white or red complex wines, I recommend you to buy a tool called vacuum cap. It is a plug which pumps out the air and create a vacuum inside the bottle. If the operation is successful, your favorite wines can be stored for weeks.

Rosé or white wines like Trio Sauvignon Blanc or Casillero del Diablo Shiraz Rosé, can be kept up to seven days. Light-bodied wines oxidize a little after opening. That is not a defect. The flavor slightly changes, but it does not translate into something negative. Unlike! For example, a mineral wine as Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc can evolve and show a very interesting personality after two or three days.

What if you forget an open bottle?

A wine journalist has to try several wines and for obvious reasons it is impossible to drink a whole bottle. The solution is to organize a meeting with friends or, if you have a lot of work and you are not in the mood for parties, the bottles have to go straight to the refrigerator. And it’s amazing how the wine feels the next day! It opens and is often more aromatic, intense and tasty.

Throwing out wine is never an alternative at my house.  If it no longer fits to drink, it is used forcooking. What about alcohol? When we make a stew, after a few minutes of cooking, it evaporates. The longer a dish is cooked, the less alcohol remains. What do stay is the taste of the fruit and, above all, rich acidity. If the wine is a little old, do not worry. It is very welcome! We can use it to replace lemon juice or vinegar in a recipe.

Today I want to present a very easy recipe, whichis also a classic of French cuisine: coq au vin. This recipe can be prepared in less than an hour while enjoying  the appetizers. This preparation has two versions: with red wine or Burgundy type, or with white wine- recipe from Alsace. I want to present you a delicious and creamy chicken in white wine, perfect to serve with a refreshing wine as Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay.

 Coq au Vin

Ingredients (4 people)

Coq au vin blanc

  • 4 whole chicken legs
  • 200 g of Paris mushrooms
  • 100 g butter
  • 250 ml of cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 shallots chopped
  • 250 ml of white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Oil
  • Salt pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Wash the chicken. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil and half butter. Fry the chicken pieces on both sides until they are golden. Remove from pan.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining butter and sauté the shallots. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are soft. Add the bay leaf, thyme, chicken and pour the wine. Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. Add the cream and cook a few more minutes.
  4. Season it with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with potatoes, for example duchesses.