Originally posted by pmng:
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.