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  #1  
Old 11-01-2004, 02:39 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Shelf life of opened sherry, port, or booze

Yesterday I bought a can of Private Preserve, which is a pressureized can of inert gas that you are supposed to gently spray into a wine bottle after pouring, so it will protect the remaining wine from spoiling through oxidation.

This seems like it should work. The main constituents are argon, C02, and nitrogen; I know the first two, at least, are heavier than air and should have no problem staying in the bottle during the time between when you spray it in, and when you put the cork back in.

But the package also suggests you use it on whisky, port, and sherry. I was under the impression that all of these products did not spoil after being opened. So what's the straight dope? Are the Private Preserve people just trying to sell you more of their product, by having you use it when you don't really need it? Or can sherry and whisky actually spoil after being opened and recorked?
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2004, 02:47 PM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
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Port & Sherry will spoil. They are both wines (albeit fortified), and as such will mature & change over time. I generally try to finish port or sherry within a month or so of opening the bottle, but I don't do anything special to it beyond keeping it in a cool dark space.


Whiskey I'm not sure about. I assumed it was inert like vodka or gin, but then why would they advertise it as aged 10,12,24,etc yeras? As you can see, I don't know much about whiskey, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
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Old 11-01-2004, 03:00 PM
Rufus Xavier Rufus Xavier is offline
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Unlike wine, whiskey does not age once bottled. That's why they have years on wine bottles, but not whiskey bottles. 20 years from now, my 12-year-old Glenfiddich is still going to be just 12 years old. Unless I drink it first.
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2004, 03:04 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorgirl
Port & Sherry will spoil. They are both wines (albeit fortified), and as such will mature & change over time. I generally try to finish port or sherry within a month or so of opening the bottle, but I don't do anything special to it beyond keeping it in a cool dark space.
If it takes you, let's say, 2 to 3 weeks to finish a bottle of port or sherry, do you notice any changes in the flavor over that time?

Quote:
Whiskey I'm not sure about. I assumed it was inert like vodka or gin, but then why would they advertise it as aged 10,12,24,etc yeras? As you can see, I don't know much about whiskey, so hopefully someone else will chime in.
Whiskey is aged, of course, but if that aging is not caused or altered by exposure to air in a capped bottle, then it wouldn't concern me, since the implication is that it would happen regardless of whether I open the bottle or not. It probably takes me about a month to get through a bottle of whiskey, and I can't notice any change from start to finish. I've made this observation with regard to the better common blended brands, like Cutty Sark and Johnnie Walker Red Label, as well as the lower end single malts.
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Old 11-01-2004, 03:08 PM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
If it takes you, let's say, 2 to 3 weeks to finish a bottle of port or sherry, do you notice any changes in the flavor over that time?

Not in the 2-3 week time period. We did have one bottle of sherry turn "off" on us during a very hot summer when we weren't able to keep the bottle cool enough (we prefer not to refrigerate it), but that was after the 6th week.

Keep in mind that I don't have the most sophisticated palate.
I do notice off flavors in unrefrigerated regular wine after about a week, but not in port or sherry.
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Old 11-01-2004, 03:17 PM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
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It takes my household about a year to get through a bottle of scotch (Glenfiddich is what we have in the house at the moment) unless we throw a party, and we've never seen any difference in the scotch even after a year. We're not even as careful with it as we are with port & sherry!
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2004, 03:34 PM
Ass For A Hat Ass For A Hat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
Yesterday I bought a can of Private Preserve, which is a pressureized can of inert gas that you are supposed to gently spray into a wine bottle after pouring, so it will protect the remaining wine from spoiling through oxidation.

This seems like it should work.
I've had quite a bit of success with this product. For my money, it's the best method of preserving opened wine. Depending on the wine, you can get anywhere from a couple days to maybe a week out of an open bottle. I don't have experience using it with port or sherry, but logic tells me that since these have a pretty long shelf life without the gas, that you could buy yourself a serious extension on these bottles by using it.

I agree with the other posts, that using the gas on distilled spirits is a waste.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2004, 04:24 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ass For A Hat
I've had quite a bit of success with this product. For my money, it's the best method of preserving opened wine. Depending on the wine, you can get anywhere from a couple days to maybe a week out of an open bottle. I don't have experience using it with port or sherry, but logic tells me that since these have a pretty long shelf life without the gas, that you could buy yourself a serious extension on these bottles by using it.
Sounds hopeful. I only wish they could have somehow given it color, or in some way made it temporarily visible, so that I could be sure I was using enough.

This became an issue for me because my wife recently had to give up wine due to a prescription she is on. A bottle of wine seems just about right for two people, but now that I'm the only one in the house using wine, it's a bit much for me to drink a whole bottle, so I need a way of preserving it.

What about the vacuum based stoppers? Those have the advantage of giving you physical feedback as you suck out the air, but are they as good as inert gas? I would think not.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2004, 04:28 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Whisky does spoi, albeit slowly enough that you may not notice. But blind-taste a fresh bottle and a year-open one, and you'll notice.

(Mind you, if you're satisfied by Glenfiddich, it's probably a moot point )
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Old 11-01-2004, 05:06 PM
Ass For A Hat Ass For A Hat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
This became an issue for me because my wife recently had to give up wine due to a prescription she is on. A bottle of wine seems just about right for two people, but now that I'm the only one in the house using wine, it's a bit much for me to drink a whole bottle, so I need a way of preserving it.

What about the vacuum based stoppers? Those have the advantage of giving you physical feedback as you suck out the air, but are they as good as inert gas? I would think not.
I feel your pain. My wife gave birth about 3 months ago, so it's been about a year since I've had any help with our wine collection. The wine saving gas has been a godsend.

I bought one of those vacuum stoppers along the way. They help a little, but don't do nearly the job that the gas does. You could pump that thing until your arm falls off, but you're never going to get all of the oxygen out of the bottle. The theory behind the gas is that it's heavier than ogygen and thus sits right on top of the wine, keeping the evil oxygen at bay. I'm not qualified to vouch for the science behind this, but my experiece tells me that my wine tastes better the next day when I use it.
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  #11  
Old 11-01-2004, 05:11 PM
Manduck Manduck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
What about the vacuum based stoppers? Those have the advantage of giving you physical feedback as you suck out the air, but are they as good as inert gas? I would think not.
My experience is that the wine will keep for a couple of days using the vacuum method, but not much longer than that.
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2004, 05:31 PM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Buy a half bottle. Drink it, save the bottle.

When you open a full bottle, immediately pour half into the half bottle (with little air at the top) and recork. That will last a full week.

Drink the remaining half bottle in comfort.
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2004, 05:56 PM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Whisky does spoi, albeit slowly enough that you may not notice. But blind-taste a fresh bottle and a year-open one, and you'll notice.

(Mind you, if you're satisfied by Glenfiddich, it's probably a moot point )
LOL - didja notice my comment about my discerning palate?

Besides, I just drink it to feel manly.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2004, 06:00 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Oops - missed that one.



Anyway, since you asked, the age is the time it's spent in the barrel - to be legally called 'scotch whisky' it has to mature for three years and a day (yeah, go figure that extra 24 hours). Generally, longer maturing gives a fuller flavour - but costs a lot more for the obvious reason that it's got to be stored and cared for more time, plus there's a slight risk of more barrels spoiling, etc.

Once it's sealed in the bottle, it's virtually inert. Until opened. Then, you'd better drink up quickly
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2004, 06:37 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Leftover bottles of wine? To paraphrase any number of our female dopers, who were refering to ice cream cartons....when the cork is removed, its job is done. There are never any "leftovers."
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:20 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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In the case of port, I see a definate drop off between the first night and the second, then not much over the next week or ten days. Then, after that, it's still pretty good but not real good.

I've also discovered, much to my amazement, that I can put a bottle of port toward the rear in my refrigerator (where it's coldest) and it will keep for months with no noticeable drop off in flavor. Just let it return to room temp and it's Mmmm, good.
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  #17  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:24 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus
To paraphrase any number of our female dopers....when the cork is removed, its job is done.
That's just asking to be misquoted
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  #18  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:25 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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In the case of port, I see a definite drop off between the first night and the second, then not much over the next week or ten days. Then, after that, it's still pretty good but not real good and it continues to slowly decline.

But I've also discovered, much to my surprise, that I can cork a bottle of port and place it toward the rear in my refrigerator (where it's coldest) and it will keep for months with no noticeable drop off in flavor. Just let it return to room temp and it's Mmmm, good.

(But still not as good as that first night ).
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  #19  
Old 11-01-2004, 07:27 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Sorry, editing problem. Please forgive the double-post. I didn't know the first one went through.
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  #20  
Old 11-01-2004, 08:56 PM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
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If you end up with stale booze in your house, you have a drinking problem.

Solution? Throw a Dopefest! Doper lads and lasses will be all too willing to invade your home, consume your booze, play games, take pictures of each other and you to be posted on the web, play with your kids and pets, take you to odd places on the internet at 3AM, and then post about it. Showing their appreciation, they may sleep on your couch or in your guest room, or maybe yard, if things are seasonable.

See? Problem solved.
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  #21  
Old 11-02-2004, 07:18 AM
hawthorne hawthorne is offline
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With both port and sherry it depends what kind you're drinking. Tawny or liquor port will keep for pretty long periods. Vintage port is best drunk at a sitting.

Fino and manzanilla sherries (the pale, dry ones) shouldn't be kept unopened for more than a couple of months. Once open, a couple of weeks in the fridge is about all they can take.
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  #22  
Old 11-02-2004, 07:22 AM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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:P

There's a definite decline in port taste if you have a bottle go opened for a couple of days. However a bottle of LBV (late bottled vintage) will maintain the same taste for a longer period of time, since it was designed specifically for that purpose.
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