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4 min read

Jack’s Mailbag: Prosecco, Best Cooking Wines, Opening & Storing Wine

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Jacks Mailbag

Every once in a while on WCCO's Weekly Wine Chat Podcast, we crack open Jack's Mailbag and answer listeners' burning questions about wine, spirits, and drinks of all kinds. This time, we've got great questions about opening and storing wine, cooking with it, and more.

A Listener Asks: "Jack, I love Prosecco. What Do You Think?"

If that’s your favorite, that’s your favorite. You have to drink the wines you love and you have to love the wines you drink. Don’t suffer through wines that you don’t like just because you’re “supposed” to drink them. 

If you already like Prosecco and want to try something different, look for one from a different vineyard (there are over a hundred wineries in the Prosecco region of Italy) – or better yet, try a couple bottles side-by-side. You may find a bottle that you like even better. Here are some of our favorite options for Prosecco:

The only Latin I ever remember from my schooldays is, “de gustibus non est disputandum”: “in matters of taste, there can be no disputes.” So if you like Prosecco or any particular kind of wine, go right ahead and drink it. The only person you have to please is yourself.

"What are Some Good Cooking Wines?"

Whatever you do, don’t buy anything called "cooking wine." Those little bottles in the grocery store will cost you $5 or $6 for eight or nine ounces – it’s not worth it. You can buy a full bottle of wine for that amount of money. If it isn't good enough to drink, it isn't good enough to cook with. That said, you've still got lots of options for good, inexpensive wine to cook with.

When you're cooking with wine, it's a good idea to use the wines you have on hand – and it's also a wonderful way to use up any leftover wine that you may have. My friend Julia Child always kept a bottle of French Dry Vermouth in her kitchen. She would use it when she needed to deglaze a pan or have a little bit of white wine for a sauce. Vermouth is really a wine that’s been fortified with herbs and spices, so it won’t go bad sitting on the counter as quickly as an opened bottle of table wine. 

Personally, I like to rub a little red wine on top of a steak before cooking it. Wine is a natural tenderizer and it will make that steak just a little bit better.

TCL Cali wine pack - Obscured, Gearbox, Baus, Fog Mountain

"How Long Can a Bottle of Wine Last After Opening?"

I often get asked about those open bottles of wine and how long it will last sitting on the counter. The short answer is: not very long. Air and light are the natural enemies of wine, so if you can eliminate the two of those you can make that extra wine last a little longer. 

Eliminating the light is the easier of the two: Don’t keep the wine on your counter, put the bottle into a cabinet or even in the refrigerator. Getting rid of the air is a little trickier. They make lots of different devices that try to eliminate air from wine bottles or you can just pour the leftover wine into a smaller container, but it’s really only going to extend the life of the wine by a day or two.

The wines that really go bad fast are older wines, so if you’re opening that special bottle out of the wine cellar, plan on drinking it all.

"Where Should I Store My Wine?"

I'm asked this question all the time because it's particularly tricky for people with limited space to figure out where they should keep big bottles of wine.

Let me start by saying that whatever you do, do not store wine on top of your refrigerator. That's one of the hottest places in the kitchen, so it's the worst place to store wine. Remember – we’re looking for a dark, cooler spot to store your wine.

My recommendation is to make space somewhere light and heat won't get to it. If you've got secure storage in the basement of your building, that’s an ideal place to store your wine. If you've got more limited space, just store it in a location away from windows and exterior doors, like on the floor of a closet or even in the center of the apartment. Closets are normally not connected to your heating and cooling system, so the temperature will fluctuate less and it will hopefully be a little bit cooler.

So there you have it! Find all your go-to wines (or a new favorite) from your local Haskell's or order online for delivery or pickup today.

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