In praise of cheap wine
Julia Moskin at the NY Times tests various recipes with different "grades" of wine. Interesting results: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/21/din...
Thanks to Nigella, I also discovered ages ago that vermouth is a nice substitute for white wine in cooking--good for those of us who don't drink so much and don't want to open a bottle just for a recipe. Anyone got any good suggestions about a long-lasting red?
If you buy a vacu-vin (rubber suction thingie that creates a vacuum so the wine doesn't oxidize), you can keep a red (in a cool, dark place) for weeks.
I was tickled to see my fave Two Buck Chuck in there - that's my main cookin' wine, both the cab and the chardonnay. The cab I will even drink!
What bossanova is saying makes sense - if you keep the wine cool and out of the light, the only real enemy is oxygen, which makes it taste very nasty. That said, simply keeping it corked in the fridge, while dulling the flavor too much for pleasant drinking, does also hold off the oxidizing process almost indefinitely - to make sense of this, just remember that rapid oxidation is also called "burning"!
Most of my buddies with restaurants keep a large box of red and one of white in their walk-ins....
I avoid that problem by keeping mini-bottle four-packs on hand for cooking. You won't always find the greatest wine in that format, but, as the Times makes clear (vindication!), you don't need the greatest wine for cooking.
You don't really need a long lasting red, just freeze the excess. Take an ice cube tray and freeze what you don't drink. Put the cubes in a zip lock in the freezer and you'll have it the next time you cook.