Other than "down the drain", what creative uses have you found for corked wine?
Any other ideas?
Put them on a fence rail and blow them away with a shotgun. Really cool seeing the red spray.
Wine is like potato chips around me...if it's open, it's gone.
MyBlog @ www.wineismylife.net
Serve them to my mother-in-law.
Seriously though, down the drain. I don't cook with anything I wouldn't drink.
No use for it...dump it out.
+2 TCA boils at 140C. Are you sure you want the decomposition products of a chlorinated aromatic compound in your dinner?
You chemistry majors crack me up.
I had to change my idea about this. I don't cook with wine very often, and I was used to read in this forum and elsewhere that corked wine, if used for cooking, spoils the food as well, and indeed it looked reasonable, but I don't think so anymore.
A couple of months ago, I meet with friends after dinner in a restaurant, for an informal offline, everyone bringing a bottle (blind). The first bottles are open, and mine comes out to be badly corked. A Chablis Grenouilles 2004 by the way, that I was expecting quite a lot from. Ok, it's all for fun, all the other bottles are ok and everyone is happy nonetheless. Some minutes later a friend of mine, still thinking about that corked wine, asks to the owner of the restaurant (also a friend of ours, and attending the offline) what they do with corked wine. "We use it for cooking" is the reply. I proudly intervene: "This is not a great idea, the problem won't go away, the food won't be good, or, at least, it will be less good". Please consider that some bottles are already quite empty at that moment of the evening. The restaurant tender says: "Really? No, you're wrong, we do it all the time and we never had any problem". The discussion starts across the table, but in a very happy way. So is the power of wine. We all agree that we cannot verify our opinions just based on a discussion, the progress of the science requires immediate experimentation. Admittedly, some other wine is poured in our glasses in the meantime, to enforce our resolutions. We have the cooking room of the restaurant at disposal and basically we put part of the Chablis in a pan and warm it; we keep some to compare later. We come back to the table, obviously forget the experiment until someone suddenly recalls it; so basically we have the Chablis boiling for 10 minutes or more. The temperature of the Chablis is then drastically reduced to the usual one for a white wine, and then the wine is served. Ok, for the nose, the smell of cork is COMPLETELY gone. The owner of the restaurant was right. All the attendees have to agree on this, even if they try hard to find the problem again. Some enthusiasm comes out around the table. Possibly we are the Ones Who Eventually Defeated The Problem Of Corked Wines. After tasting the wine, the enthusiasm becomes more moderate. No residual cork issue, but the wine tastes like bread, yeasts, and first of all it tastes very, very acidic. The glory and the richness don't look so close anymore, and we would incline to surrender, until one of the ettendees, showing his actual fibre, finds the solution: "Sure, it's clear. We boiled the wine for ten minutes, alcohol is mostly gone, now the wine is terribly unbalanced. But we still have an option: we can add some grappa in it!". Brilliant. We start to calculate the correct amount of grappa to reach again the original degrees of alcohol. The consensus about the correct amount is not immediate, because someone is not taking the experiment very seriously (I don't know why) and keeps on laughing instead of cooperating. Eventually we taste again. Result: it works, the acidity is now balanced again, in a perfect way. The taste is still terrible, but we can work on it. A great day for the science.
I want to party with you guys.
I'm still dumping mine down the drain.
I have cooked with corked wine, and could not taste any adverse effects.
I guess it depends on how you use it, but in a recipe with multiple other flavors, and a long cooking time, where the wine will essentially be completely altered by the cooking, I don't think the trace of TCA will make any difference. I mean, we cook with other fungi, anyway. Mushrooms, anyone?
Stay thirsty my friends.
I pretty much agree, although somehow the taste of mildew isn't as pleasant as mushrooms!
But I've cooked with corked wine very often. At first I was completely skeptical, so did a separate deglazing in a small pan, just to see what happened. No problem so I kept the bottle and put a little bit into another dish with the same results.
In both cases, I had some hot peppers and spice, so next time I tried w/out.
Eventually I got comfortable using corked wine for cooking and I was converted to a believer.
I'm not entirely sure what happens chemically. The TCA has a boiling point of somewhere around 280F or 140C. So I suppose it really has to be in a hot pan that's cranked up - I don't know whether it would become volatile at a low simmer.
But if you don't want to use the corked wine directly, the Saran Wrap trick actually does work - the TCA molecule has an affinity for the polyethylene molecules and you get the taint out of the wine. It's usually undrinkable afterwards - flat and dead, like a wine that's been open on the counter for a week, which is what you'd probably cook with anyway. You don't have to use Saran - any polyethelene wrap works. The advantage is that you aren't just masking the flavor, you're actually removing the molecules that cause the problem
There are commercial filters too - Gallo patented an aluminum silicate filter and there are several others - they act as little magnets for the TCA molecules and come in handy for large producers who may have contaminated batches.
And you can use whole milk or half and half or cream - the TCA binds with the fat molecules. They settle down to the bottom and you pour off the wine at the top, sans TCA. People have used that method commercially, so it's not like you're doing something unheard of.
Maybe it's a lot of effort to go thru to save a crappy bottle of wine, but for me, the Saran Wrap trick isn't all that much effort and I get SOME use out of the bottle.
And as luck would have it, we opened a bottle Thursday night and it's corked.
That's the third corked wine this week.
I LOVE corks because they're so romantic and traditional - I get all gooey and dreamy when I pull out a cork. It's the sheer pleasure of never knowing whether your wine is spoiled or not that makes me hope all winemakers use corks forever.
"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
I am no expert about this; when cooking with wine, 140C could be reached in a pan with oil etc.; but this fact alone doesn't explain the results of our voodoo experiment with Chablis, that was boiling alone, without any other ingredient; and wine boils at less than 140C. A shot in the dark, some chemical reactions among the wine components might be boosted by higher temperatures and involve the TCA molecules before they reach their boiling temperature. In that case, TCA would go away because the molecules are destroyed or recombined in some way, not because of evaporation.
I don't care. I'm not putting that crap in my food.
"One may dislike carrots, spinach, beetroot, or the skin on hot milk. But not wine. It is like hating the air that one breathes, since each is equally indispensable."
I'm frequently torn over this issue: Should I mix bad wine with good quality meat and vegetables to diminish the enjoyment of my meal? Or would it be better to use a really good wine but mix it with spoiled meat or vegetables to get the same effect?
It's always a toss-up for me.
Down the drain. Period.
Back to the wine store for refund or replacement bottle, period.
Definitely the best option.
"When I drink, I think; and when I think, I drink." Francois Rabelais
Agreed, if the store will take it back or issue a credit at all. Most of my wine purchases are online and a return is not a viable option due to shipping regulations/costs.
Also, thanks to all for the lively conversation and especially GregT for the detailed reply and great ideas.
Of course as mentioned return them. I have not had any trouble in the Twin Cities returning corked wines and always humored when I try to return a corked bottle to one shop as they know I buy a ton of wine from them and they always see a need to test the wine to make sure it is corked.
As for wine online I just tell the outlet I will not buy from them anymore along with the dozen or more referrals I provide to them and they always credit me. Usually never gets to that.
As far as someone who has a policy that they don't guarantee their wines (winebid, etc.) I just contact the winery. Nine out of ten operations will take care of me and I have even contacted regional distribution.
Do a little more work on getting an exchange as the consumer should not be the one to get stuck with the bill on a corked bottle.
Thanks for the info wineglas. So far my bad bottles have come from: Cellars (my first corked bottle so I didn't pursue a refund), JJBuckley (credited), WTSO (refunded entire order!), BenchmarkWine (credit for one bottle due to improper statement of bottle condition, otherwise they have a no refund policy as they buy primarily from collectors and not distributors). The majority of my corked/brett wines have been small French wineries, and I haven't had any luck tracking down the wineries online. However, my attitude towards corked wines has gradually shifted from "oh, it happens", to "your product is flawed & undrinkable, I demand a refund", so I'm with you there.
Go Blue the best shop in town for damaged or corked bottles is Haskell's. Best customer service in town and nation wide. While I am not a fan of their storage I have bought older wines and some have been good while others damaged and they always refund the purchase.
I am currently trying to get a refund for a Delas wine with little luck but we will see what happens.
The return is certainly the best option if you've bought the wine recently and know where it came from.
The wine I opened the other day was from 2001 and I don't remember where it was from. Earlier in the week I had a corked one from 1996 and who knows where that came from.
So when you have a bottle that you didn't pick up just a while ago, but maybe picked up 10 or 15 years ago or even earlier, what do you do? You can call the store and if it hasn't changed ownership and they remember the wine, maybe they'll take it back but really, how do they know it's from them and not someone else? I have a bottle sitting on my floor right now that's from 1968 and damned if it's not corked.
I really get the idea that people don't want to put it into their food, but I promise you, if you remove the TCA, either with polyethelene, cream, or something else, you're not going to taste anything bad. And if it was a good bottle of wine, better to use it for something.
"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
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