QUESTION: What’s the best way to store partially consumed bottles of wine?
ANSWER: It depends on the wine, and how long you plan to store it.
If it’s a white wine and you plan to drink it gradually over the course of a week, we recommend storing it upright, cork in or screwcap tightened, in your refrigerator. Many pundits disagree with this approach, but the fridge gives you the best shot at keeping the wine “fresh” over several days.
We also recommend this for lighter-style red wines (Beaujolais Nouveau, some bottlings of Pinot Noir, etc.), as well as Rose-style wines.
Now, if you’re planning to consume the wine in no more than two additional days, we again recommend sealing it, but leaving it out – in as cool an area of the house as you can find. Keep it away from electronics and lights, which throw off heat, and opt instead for a dark closet or a corner of the basement.
Heat and light are the two main enemies of wine. That’s true when the wine is aging in the bottle, as well as after the bottle has been opened. So find a cool place, lay the wine back on its side… and then don’t forget about it!
As a general rule, red wines will “keep” well in such a setting for two to four days after opening. White wines, on the other hand, should be consumed more quickly, in one to two days. And regardless of their hue, know that wine has a finite lifespan after it has been opened, and it will lose a little bit of its aroma, a little bit of its flavor, a little bit of its appeal with each passing day.
After a bottle has been opened, the third prime enemy of wine – oxygen -begins to wreak its havoc. So even if you keep the bottle in a cool, dark place, the exposure to air will continue to slowly do its age-quickening damage.