Long ago I made some fantastic white wines from kits and as it turns out went a little overboard. We don’t really drink wine fast enough to consume 30 bottles of the same wine in a reasonable time frame so after a while it became a little too old to drink. One batch had notable butter note which were not tart, but were not what I prefer. What to do, what to do?
The answer is simple, cook with it. Now I don’t make a ton of wine dishes, but I do make several types of pasta. Where I use the wine is for the sauce. Typically my sauce, whether red or white, will start with onions and garlic sautéed in olive oil. As soon as I get the caramelization I was after I then put in a cup or two of the white wine and boil it down until it is almost gone and then continue to add the other ingredients of my sauce. I’ve found the concentrated white wine flavor is fantastic in the dish. Now I wouldn’t suggest old wine for a dish where the wine is showcased, but in this case it is near perfect. Often I will add the dried herbs in the wine while is simmers and that will infuse the liquid.
Now I often hear that cooking will remove the alcohol. That just isn’t the case. If you add something while boiling and then remove from the heat you retain 85% of the alcohol. If you simmer it will depend upon how long you simmer as to how much alcohol is removed. 15 minutes on simmer will retain 40% of the alcohol. Now if you boil until almost gone, then of course the alcohol is gone as well, but just adding alcohol (wine, port, beer, etc) to a dish doesn’t eliminate all the alcohol. Just be aware if you are having friends over who do not drink and may have reasons to not touch a drop.
So if you end up with some old wine and just cannot bring yourself to discard it, cook with it.