How to Store Sherry Wine? Can Sherry Go Bad?
Isn’t it common to have unopened bottles of your most favorite wine stored in your pantry or cabinet? Wines, after all, make a hell of a gift. So it’s likely that maybe you’ve got a few from your friends, family, or loved ones. Or it could just be that you’re not so fond of wine, which means you may have a bottle or two that you bought a few weeks back still sitting unopened.
By any chance, is this sherry wine? If yes, then how to store sherry wine? It is a frequently asked question. And one that demands the right answer. Simply because the chemical composition does get subjected to change over time. So let’s find out how and why that happens. Along with how to prolong the shelf life of the wine.
Sherry Wine – What Is It Really?
It’s actually fortified wine, and it comes from Southern Spain. Sherry wine contains a higher amount of alcohol made from the traditional system of barrel aging and blending. Also known as the solera system.
The production of this particular wine takes place in more than just one way. There are styles ranging from dry and sweet to light and intense. But the majority part of sherry wines has a saline, dried fruit, and nutty flavor.
It’s very commonly used for preparing dishes and desserts. Sherry wine, in general, is incredibly varied and nuanced. And it tastes exquisitely delicious with food.
How to Store Sherry Wine
The method of storage is much the same as any other type of wine. If the bottle has not been opened yet, then store it in a cool, dry place. That means away from heat and light. For example, your pantry, kitchen cabinet, or wine cellar.
The bottle of wine should be kept in an upright position. What this does is minimize the exposed surface of the liquid. So the wine is less likely to oxidize quickly. Oxidation leads to the flavor and alcohol compounds getting affected drastically. The higher the oxidation, the more the quality of the wine decreases.
But don’t wine manufacturers oxidize wine? Yes, they do. But the oxidization here is well-controlled. That’s how they can achieve specific results.
What about how to store sherry wine after you open the bottle? Place the cork back again to seal the bottle properly. And then place the bottle in the fridge. And if the cork isn’t fitting, then turn to wine bottle stoppers.
You could also empty the wine into the decanter. But decanters don’t have an airtight seal. That’s alright because the seal of a decanter is not all that bad. Particularly if you know you’re going to drink up that wine soon enough.
The simplest thing would be to pour the remaining wine into a smaller bottle. The goal is to keep the alcohol sealed, and then refrigerate it.
What About Freezing Sherry Wine?
It goes without saying that freezing your wine is going to affect its feel and taste. That is why it’s better to use the wine for cooking. And what’s even better news is that sherry is one of the best cooking wines. In that case, put those leftovers to some good use. But that might take a while, right? In the meantime, why not freeze these leftovers?
Pour the remaining wine into the ice cube tray. Freeze the cubes, and then place them into a container or bag with an airtight seal. Put down a label if needed. And make way for long-term storage without worrying about a thing.
As for using your sherry wine cubes for cooking, simply just add them directly into the stock, stew, sauce, or dish you’re preparing that requires wine. There’s no sense in thawing these cubes. They are eventually going to melt, which is something that doesn’t take a lot of time in a pot or pan.
Sherry Wine – How Long Does It Last?
There is indeed a best-before/by date, right? You’ll see it on the packaging. Now please understand that this isn’t the expiration date. Rather it’s the date by which the alcohol content in there maintains the peak quality.
But doesn’t sherry wine taste better as a result of aging? Well, that’s not the case with this type of wine. Sherry wine remains at its peak quality only for 1-2 years. But there are a few sherries that last for a longer time.
Once the bottle is opened, the clock of freshness starts ticking. But how long the wine preserves its freshness actually depends on what type of sherry is involved. For example, Manzanilla and Fino are a bit more on the fragile side. So you have to consume it all within 1-2 days after opening the bottle.
On the other hand, other types of sherry are slightly more forgiving. These are more likely to keep good for a few weeks or months.
Opened sherry wine bottle tastes the best before 3 months.
An unopened sherry wine bottle can be stored for a whole year.
Sherry Wine – How to Tell If It Has Gone Bad?
Sherry has a higher content of alcohol. Plus, don’t forget that it is wine after all. So once the bottle is opened, the chemical profile beings to change very quickly. Oxidation, at such times, paves the way for damage in the form of loss of flavor compounds. Thus, making the wine blander and flat-tasting.
So maybe when that happens, you can use it for your salads and cooking.
A clear warning sign is a dried out or crumbled cork. Black specks spotted in your sherry means the bottle has been left opened or stored for longer than it was supposed to. But don’t confuse black specks for sediments. Floating cork parts tend to develop mold, which means it’s time to throw away the sherry wine.
Then cork taint is another negative sign. In fact, it’s something that happens with many corked wine bottles. The outcome is a result of a chemical process that consists of the formation of fungus found on cork trees. It’s not such a harmful reaction. But it does produce a moldy, musty cardboard-like wine odor.
So now you know how to store sherry wine properly, both when opened and unopened. You also know for how long it lasts. Along with how to tell if sherry wine has gone bad.
If you have a liquor cabinet, then it’s likely that you also have an unopened bottle of sherry wine. So as long as you take into account factors like shelf life, storage, etc., you can make sure your wine doesn’t go to waste. And if it starts to taste bland or flat, you can add the wine to your cooking and dessert recipes unflinchingly.