No matter how careful we are with our wine — keeping it in a temperature-controlled room, out of the reach of sunlight, and stored on its side — sometimes we encounter a “leaker.”
That’s when a dried cork has allowed some of the wine inside the bottle to seep through, creating a sticky mess on the outside of the bottle neck.
Is the wine ruined? Not necessarily, particularly if you notice the leak early enough. The longer that wine is exposed to air, the more quickly it begins to age, losing aroma and flavor with each passing week.
Around our house, we use “leakers” as opportunities to cook with wine and create some really tasty sauces for either pasta or meat dishes.
If you’re going to do this and are having guests over, there’s one factor you need to take into account, as the following question from one of our blog followers reminded us…
QUESTION: I’ve always thought that when we cook with wine, it burns away all the alcohol in the wine. But a friend says that’s not true. Can you clear this up for me?
ANSWER: Cooking definitely reduces the alcohol content of wine, but it does not eliminate it.
We won’t bore you with the scientific details — which, frankly, we don’t entirely understand — but about 5 percent of a wine’s original alcohol content will remain no matter how long you cook it.
Considering that wine has a low alcohol content to begin with, 5% of that amount isn’t very much, but even that small amount can be too much for someone who does not drink.
So if your guest list includes a non-imbiber, and you’re planning to cook a dish that includes wine, you may want to clear the recipe with them ahead of time.