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saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

As we've played with this more, it's really true your observation Melanie that some reds do fine with this while some have problems. Our initial tests were with 'lower quality' reds, so this may also reflect that some of the more mass-produced wines are also more robust. I'd say about 85% of those reds we've frozen have been similar to those kept in the fridge section alone. So, our current sense is that if you're under about six weeks of preservation time the small bottles filled to the top and kept at the fridge temperature will work for all the reds that we've tried. The other, larger than we'd realized, variable here is the quality of the small jars. Jars that do poorly in the fridge section also do poorly in the freezer. In this case its a factor of two more poorly in storage time. (The 2 oz bottles let the wine spoil within three weeks). This is probably not surprising and was also pointed out in the article about seed preservation. I'd be curious if anyone else has played with different types of jars for the storage, since I'm now feeling that this is a significant factor in the quality of the preservation. In regard to letting the wine stay out for an hour or more before pouring to preserve it, I should add that we've been opening the new wine bottles and immediately pouring into small bottles and putting them in the fridge or freezer. That may help them to keep longer, but we didn't experiment with trying it in different ways. It might be interesting to expose the wine for different amounts of time and then to fridge/freeze it.

Sep 15, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

That pdf is an example of the type of information that it would be nice to find -- but not from each winery, I'd like to be able to compare sets of wines that we might find in the stores in Baltimore -- the pdf does talk about the grape-contact time, but there's not a description of the altitude (just locally higher) or age of the vineyard. So, I'm happy to see them adding more than just a taste description, but there's still a lot of information that would be nice to get indexed for comparison. Still, thanks for passing that along.

Sep 03, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

I think you're right that this makes us unusual customers. But, I also think that the trend towards food eduction, sparked by people like Michael Pollan, will lead to more consumers asking this kind of question. It is certainly true that within our local wine stores, those in the Baltimore area, they've not been able to provide any insights or suggestions to these same questions. This partly confirms your suggestion that most people are buying wine based on other criteria: food matching, wine-critic review, or investing.

That said, is there any way to start finding out this information? I can continue to try and research individual wineries, but that's really time-consuming and most of the time they are advertising the taste and the critics reviews and not providing any real information about production methods, grape-growing specifics, etc.

My sense is that this may become more like the organic food movement with wine consumers becoming increasingly aware. But, I'm not in the business, simply a consumer, so I could be mis-thinking the trends. It would make sense, though, that people buying wine will start to be more aware of these issues as the education of the consumer gets better.

Sep 03, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the insights on the lack of connections between alcohol and taste -- as one that is 'getting into' wine, this is a really good thing to keep in mind. We've been exploring a range of grape styles and tastes, and haven't really tried to correlate our own likes and dislikes directly with alcohol content. Our goal is moderate, but daily alcohol consumption. The thinking there is that one to two glasses a day is preferable to binge drinking or even to the occasional glass of wine. In the past we've been in that 'enjoyed it with the dinner out' type crowd, but not really that 'serious' about learning the details of the wine benefits/business.

That said, the main motivation behind the question was not so much the taste as trying to find a surrogate for what red wines are the best ones to choose. I think this is a really, really hard question. Roger's work would suggest that not all reds are the same. Maria Lorraine (and others) have suggested that alcohol alone and/or resveratrol alone are the most important. This would imply that nearly all reds are the same. My own intuition, not backed up by experience though, is that the older production methods are likely to be better than the newer. This would parallel the rise of the mass-produced food versus local food that people like Michael Pollan have commented on. That is, the mass-production to meet demand also takes away some (many?) of the benefits associated with the product. I realize that's not universally true, but its a working pre-conception. Roger has suggested that mass production methods tend to lead to higher alcohol content in red wine.

So, that's a longish way of saying that I'd like to find a way to be able to walk into a wine store and know in advance what reds are the most likely best choices. I don't think its only going to be grape variety and I agree with your experience that alcohol content is not a good indicator. Web research on the wineries seems to be really 'hit or miss' in my experience. That leads to the question -- do you or anyone on the list -- have a better way to compare wines via the web?

((I should add that I use grapestories, snooth, wine-searcher and related web-sites for finding out about the tastes of wines, as well as their availability in Baltimore. The problem is that none of these sites has this kind of information))

Sep 03, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

In Roger's book, he also recommends Malbec, Nebbiolo, and Grenache. As I read his recommendations, its not only the grape variety, but the production methods that makes a difference for the procyanadin content. That is, you can't just look for the grape variety, but ideally, should check on maceration, fermentation, age of vines, and altitude. These things are hard to find, at least in my experience.

When you say ethyl alcohol is the main benefit, are there specific articles that you're thinking about? What I've found from web searching is not that specific:

http://www.wineintro.com/basics/healt...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol

The main other thread on health benefits that I've seen is resveratrol e.g.:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/6...

But, Roger's work seems to argue that it's not that alone (despite a lot of press on the benefits of resveratrol and even possibly drug supplements coming out soon).

Sep 03, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

Sure, there's a fair amount written on this -- the main name is Roger Corder -- he had a Nature paper on procyanidins being the leading candidate to make some red wines healthier than others. The analysis led to his understanding that Old World production methods with contact times of grape skins and seeds of three weeks or more are the most likely to produce larger amounts of procyanidins. Related to this is that wines produced using this method have a bit lower alcohol content (say 9.3% to 10.4%) relative to other wines and tend to be less sweet. Here's some links if you want to read more:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/...
http://french-wine.suite101.com/artic...
The Red Wine Diet, Roger Corder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proantho...

In terms of alcohol and taste there's been quite a lot written, for example in :

Jancis Robinson: How to Taste or
Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

Hope that helps. I've been trying to find out how to more quickly determine what wines meet his criteria, since the information is not generally on the label or in the store. The other indicators are well-established vines, long slow ripening. high altitudes and low yields. Clearly these are not the mass-produced reds.

Sep 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

sorry, no not removed, but in the earlier thread under saving wine with Private Preserve or other gases -- that's where she'd mentioned the Wheaton bottles -- this idea of freezing wine is also under other earlier threads, so if you want more on that as well you should search under the archives.

Sep 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

a greener and slimmer champagne bottle

Sep 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

Another update: We've found that not all the small bottles are 'equal'. Maria Lorraine and others had suggested that anything with a tight lid should be fine. Jock has suggested plastic as well. Our initial tests used either glass lab-jars from speciality bottle or glass baby jars. Last night we realized that the smaller speciality bottles were not holding the wine as well. Wine stored in them after about 3-weeks has started to go flat. In contrast, the wine stored in the baby food bottles has lasted six weeks or more without much change (to our tasting). This means that anyone wanting to try this route would be well advised to experiment some with the type of small bottle to use. We didn't try the Wheaton bottles that Maria Lorraine first mentioned, those should do as well as the baby bottles, would be my guess. There is nothing obvious with the speciality glass bottles that suggests why they would be less good for this -- probably the seal is simply not tight enough and/or the glass not thick enough.

In doing a bit of web searching, there is a thread in the seed preservation community on finding the ideal containers. What they suggest is that water content in their containers as well as temperature is important. I'm not sure that there's a direct comparison to wine storage, but it may be interesting reading for some of you:

http://www.seedcontainers.net/a_guide...

Sep 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

comparing wines by percent alcohol: web based way?

I'm wondering if anyone has a web-based way to quickly find the alcohol content for comparisons of different wines. Of course you can always go into the store (in the US) and look it up on the bottle. Some of the individual vineyards describe this as well. But, it would be really nice to be able to cross-compare wines by percent alcohol, by maceration time, etc. In my own web searching I've not found any way to do this. Any suggestions?

We're curious about finding a good way to search on this since it has an influence on taste and there's research suggesting that the health effects of red wine are increased by low alcohol content and greater maceration time.

Sep 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

PET plastic bottles: anyone tried them?

I'm curious if anyone on the board has experienced the new PET bottles in UK or other parts of Europe. If I read the articles correctly there is are both pros and cons to the plastic. On the cons side it may lead to more rapidly spoiling wine. On the pros side it may be environmentally more friendly. I searched the board and didn't see a discussion of this. What are the chowhound list-readers experiences or thoughts?

http://www.wineanorak.com/wine_in_pet...
http://greenopolis.com/goblog/litegre...
http://www.environmentalleader.com/20...

Aug 31, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

Sorry that I wasn't clear. Yes, the control was the original wine bottle with no vacuum pump, no gas preservative. It was simply a small amount that I retained in the original wine bottle, stoppered it back up with the original cork and then placed in the fridge section. That was not touched for more than a month. We are still doing some frozen as well, but with things keeping this well in the fridge, we may do less and less in the freezer.

That does mean that we can't comment on vacuum pumps or gas preservatives versus the small bottles over this time length. Perhaps I'll do that type of control later along, but for now we've not invested in any of the gas preservative measures nor in a vacuum pump.

Aug 26, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

one-month in update:

We're really enjoying this method of saving wine, more and more with each day. There are currently eleven red wines saved in our fridge in 2.5 oz or 5 oz sizes. I checked our longest one against the control of the stoppered refrigerated bottle (small amount saved) last night, and the small sample in the fully filled bottle was still excellent, while the amount left in the bottle had spoiled and lost its taste (in this case becoming watery-like with a small amount of alcohol flavor over the month).

So, for those interested in comparison testing, this is letting us have two to four wines each night for comparison testing. I think we're really getting much better at what we like and why we like it. For example, the comparison last night was a Cannanou from Sella and Mosca versus the 2004 Bordeaux from Jean Gautreau (opened two nights ago). The Cannanou was the winner, for us, with a more interesting blend of tastes and a more complex aftertaste.

The main point in updating the board is that if you want to store a lot of wine for comparisons, this seems to be a very strong contender. The very last post, by Jock, mentioned storing in plastic bottles with squeezing the air out. That should work if you've not many samples. This way should be better if you're trying to be space efficient and enable cross-comparisons across different wines. It does require some fore-thought in having enough bottles and book-keeping to know what's in each bottle and how many you have left.

I'll not update all of our 'wine flight' experiences, but I did want to let you all know that this, really quite old, method of saving wine by using small glass bottles is working out exceptionally well for us.

Aug 26, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

By the way, I should add that the total gamble here is only with one part of the total and so is less than some might imagine, even with an expensive bottle -- it's maybe 8% to 16%-20% depending on whether you're using 2 oz or 4 oz-5 oz jars. I've been viewing this as a tasting experience, so with an expensive wine, you could structure this experiment so that you're not risking all of that bottle as one item, only as if you'd offered a glass to someone that didn't appreciate it :)

Aug 05, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

I'd certainly be happy to do this if the list wants to underwrite the effort :)

More seriously, I am going to keep experimenting on this, since as a relative beginner it does seem to open up more taste testing over more wine than we'd be able to do otherwise. I think even a little bit of quality decrease is alright for the learning. At the moment we'll be mainly using the fridge, since I think we'll be drinking before it goes bad at that temperature.

Aug 04, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

Just another note on containers, I discovered today a distributor with good prices on glass jars and have ordered some 2 oz jars to complement the 4 oz ones. These should also be good for 4 oz or other sizes. The prices (with shipping) are about $1/jar, so not too bad:
https://www.specialtybottle.com/index...

Aug 04, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

I wonder if its slower to freeze than water -- in our freezer, over about a week, the initial wine didn't freeze solid -- but, if we'd kept it a month, maybe that would have happened. I'm tempted to rely more on the fridge though than the freezer, since its not clear if there are any benefits/problems with actually fully freezing it. Did you thaw any of the frozen wine to see if the taste had changed?

Aug 02, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...

Note that there's a cap that comes with this, so there's no extra air space when filled to the top and sealed -- that said this is marketed mainly for babies, so while a good price, there are obviously many possible bottles that could be used. I settled on this one for the initial experiments, since the lab bottles are quite a bit more expensive.

Jul 31, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

I wonder if you live in a cooler climate? We've had a really hot (95-degrees or so and humid) summer -- so leaving this out for us this last week at room temperature did seem to lead to some degradation -- still not as bad as it being left in the original bottle though --

Jul 30, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

So far we'd suggest that either freezing or the fridge will work about the same. We brought all the samples to the same temperature simply by immersing them up to the bottle cap in a large pot of water. So, yes, all the wine samples were thawed to the same temperature.

Our thinking on this is similar to yours -- We're still learning our way around the wine world and the ability to have say four glasses of different wines by keeping multiple wine samples around in these bottles seems really appealing. Even if there's some degrading, it seems its already much less than leaving it in the bottle. It would mean that we don't have to finish every bottle that we open.

In terms of our bottles, as was pointed out on the list, it probably doesn't matter that much. I went ahead with two sets of six glass baby bottles for $12/set that I found on Amazon. While they might not be for everyone, they are nicely thick and sturdy bottles and the right size for what we want (basically each holds about one glass of wine). I can post the Amazon link if you want it. What I also like about them (so far) is that they are easy to clean and have a good sturdy seal on the cap.

Jul 30, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

I feel like we're still optimizing on how best to do this -- the first efforts I've filled the bottles all the way to the top. They are marketed as 4 oz bottles, but when filled to the top, it's closer to 5 oz. My thinking on this is to completely eliminate any room for oxygen and get a good tight seal. Why do you leave a gap?

So far there's been no problems with wine in the freezer -- it doesn't freeze all the way (as near as I can tell and similar to the other posts). Of course that may change as we experiment with this more, but for now, the freezer seems just fine.

Lastly, there was no difference in quality that we could tell between the freezer held wines and the fridge held wines. We put both of them into water baths at room temperature for a few hours before drinking, so they were sipped at the same temperature for the taste comparison and we couldn't tell any difference. The wine that we'd stored at room temperature (for nearly a week), that one we could tell as starting to get worse. But, even that one was much better than the wine kept in the nearly empty bottle.

Jul 30, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

saving wine for more than one night: freezing//fridge -- initial experiments w/small bottles

Inspired by a discussion several years back on this board and the recent discussion about extending open bottle life with gases, I went ahead and purchased a set of six small (5 oz) bottles. I've now finished a few simple experiments with two wines. The results were very encouraging.

All that I did was to immediately poor the opened bottle of wine into the small bottles till they were completely full, then put them into either the fridge, a dark room temperature space, or the freezer. Of course I also enjoyed a glass of the wine right after the opening. The filled volumes should prevent oxygen from getting into the small bottles -- as was pointed out in the previous discussion.

After nearly a week, we did comparison tastings of the wine in the small bottles kept at different temperatures. The fridge and freezer kept wines (both reds) were nearly as good as the original. The room temperature sample was a bit decreased, but not nearly as badly as a wine kept in the bottle for the same length of time.

So, I'll keep exploring this, but wondered if anyone else on this board was also playing with this idea or had other comments.

Jul 27, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

suggestions needed: Cannonau or Grenache mix -- relative newbie

Just a note that we tried the Onix Priorat tonight and really enjoyed it -- the blend is 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan -- it made for a good nose with a nice taste of coffee and raspberry, at least for us. A good suggestion. We'll be trying some other Priorats in the future --

Jul 27, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

Private Preserve and other solutions for preserving wine in an opened bottle

Carswell and others -- have you continued your experiments with freezing following your posts about 4 years back (Melanie Wong et al : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3032...). I'm really tempted to try lab jars and the freezer to let me sample a wider range of wines -- what do people think? Has this stood up as an option over the last four years or been found to be lacking in some way??

Jul 19, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

Private Preserve and other solutions for preserving wine in an opened bottle

I've not actually bought these, so I don't know if that's a problem or not -- the product description reads that the lid (not the nipple) is flat for storage (like a regular lid) and so I would imagine that it could be filled to the top without much ullage. It's actually harder than I'd thought to find jars that are about 4 or 5 oz. Most of the lab media jars are 100 ml or 250 ml and from $8 to $12 each. Ideally, for me, 150 ml would be great. I suppose another option is to reuse jars from olive oil or other food items. Those have the advantage of being opaque, but might be harder to clean.

Jul 19, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

Platy Preserve: another way to store an opened bottle

Sorry, here are the web links (meant to attach them to the original post):

http://www.amazon.com/Platypus-Platy-...

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/platypu...

Jul 19, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

Platy Preserve: another way to store an opened bottle

Like the previous poster on argon or vacuum systems to preserve wine after opening, I'm hoping to find a way to keep several bottles 'active' and enjoyed over several days. As I'm learning more about wine, it has been fun to try small amounts of several types for comparison at one sitting. But, the obvious downside is that the taste changes over several days. Maria in the previous post commented on the main way to save being small glass bottles filled to the top. This item, basically a bag that you squeeze to get the extra oxygen out, seems like it would be similar and very easy to use. What is the experience of the board with this item? Have any of you used it or considered it? How would you feel about this compared with glass storage jars?

Jul 19, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

Private Preserve and other solutions for preserving wine in an opened bottle

Hi Maria Lorraine and others reading this. I searched Amazon and some of the medical/science supply areas for glass media storage and these are on the pricey side. What I just found, and would be curious people's take on, is a set of glass jars sold for babies that looks much less expensive and equally good for wine storage. I realize many may find the thought of storing wine in baby bottles odd, but the price is good and the quality of the glass should be as good as that found for the lab (Wheaton, etc). At least that's my first thought. Any comments?

http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Classic...

This is a set of six 4-oz bottles for $12 -- it does come with lids for storage and is clear glass --

Jul 19, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

suggestions needed: Cannonau or Grenache mix -- relative newbie

Yes, we'll have to give that a try (see below as well). Our wine seller had suggested that we pass on the Cotes-du-Rhone and look at the Chateauneuf du Pape as our alternative.

Jul 06, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine

suggestions needed: Cannonau or Grenache mix -- relative newbie

I found the 2007 Evodia in Baltimore, so we'll give that a try -- the 2009 I'm also not finding around here-- thanks!

Jul 06, 2010
tb_baltimore in Wine