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Sep 11, 2008 03:58 PM

Can we cook with an older bottle of wine that has lost its legs but is still ok?

We opened what we hoped would be a special cabernet sauvignon from the 1980s. It was not spoiled but lacked oomph. I have a recipe for chicken in a wine plum sauce. Do you think it will work?

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  1. How long has it been open? Have you decanted it and re-tried it? Sometimes older wines are "dumb" and need a little air and time to bloom..

    1. After you address ML's questions, I'd say a resounding YES. If it's not wowing you later, it probably will not. If your recipe calls for a Cab, then it should still be very good for that. Since this was someone's love, let it live, even for a brief moment in the saute pan.


      1. You can, but if it doesn't have much flavor in the glass, it'll have even less in the dish! Cooking tends to break down the flavors in wine, and with a bold flavor like plum, it'll just get lost.

        Also, I have to disagree with the recommendation to have it in the pan briefly. When cooking with wine you (usually) want it to cook long enough for the alcohol to burn off, as well as for the flavors to integrate with the dish.

        4 Replies
        1. re: craig_g

          Um, I don't want to speak for Bill, but I think you may have misinterpreted his last line. He said to "let it live, even for a brief moment in the saute pan," which I read as giving the wine and its faded beauty the chance to make a contribution to enjoyment, albeit in the saute pan, even though it cannot be drunk. He wasn't referring to the cooking time.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Thanks, we took your advice and cooked with it. The wine had its "shining moment" and is quite good in the sauce!

              1. re: hopegoode


                Thanks for sharing. I hope that you raised a glass of a bit younger wine, as a sendoff to this old fella'.


          2. It's the perfect use for old wine.