Leftovers aren’t just for tuna casseroles, impromptu chicken taco nights, and slapdash sloppy joes. The next time you find yourself with half a bottle of leftover wine, try to incorporate the dregs into one of these nifty recipes. Believe me. You will never throw expensive wine down the drain again.
1. Make a Red Wine Demi Glace
Sounds fancy, but you’d be surprised. This impressive, velvety sauce is a snap to make and will pair perfectly with your leftover wine, too! Next time you’re frying up a steak or pork chop, save those browned crispy bits leftover in the pan. Scrape ‘em up, cook some shallots in butter, and beef, chicken, or veggie stock, then reduce. Once the liquid reduces about half in size, add your good red wine (add a little at first, then more, to taste). Get ready for some fantastic sizzling, as the wine bubbles up, turning your plain old “sauce” into a demi glace! You can allow the wine to simmer on low for up to an hour or as little as 20 minutes—just be sure to taste as you go. The result should taste rich, savory, and complex, with a tangy hint of wine, never boozy (be sure to cook all of the alcohol out). Pour over various meats, potatoes, and roasted veggies, or dash onto soups and rice dishes. Yes, your house will smell amazing and you will feel like a Chopped champion for making good use of an old bottle! Tip: Save extra sauce in ice cube trays for a sauce that will wow dinner guests in mere moments.
2. Make a big batch of Sangria (or two)
So you have two half-empty bottles of insanely delicious wines weighing on your heart. The red was opened four days ago, when your sister came over for pasta and Netflix. The white was, until now,
forgotten in the back of your fridge—a relic of your last book party, some six days ago (luckily, you closed both with a wine saver pump). What to do with these half-finished flavors? I’ll tell you. Make two big batches of Sangria—one red, one white. Next, invite all your neighbors over for a little mid-week fiesta. The reason I suggest making two batches is that it’s always fun to use different fruit for fun tasting combinations. White wine lovers will love a viognier or albarino mixed with pineapple, pear, and lime (pair with shrimp tacos and ginger-cabbage slaw). Red wine drinkers will go bonkers over a zinfandel or GSM rose spiked with watermelon, blood orange, and warm spices (pair with Asian pork sliders with sweet and sour barbecue sauce). A good rule of thumb: Don’t worry about how much fruit you throw into the mix—the more the merrier. Do, however, go easy on the brandy or other liquor of choice. The idea is to have fun, not a hangover.
3. Make Winesicles
Move over kiddies, this one’s for the grown-ups! Frozen wine pops aren’t just tasty; making the icy treats are a fun and creative way to use all sorts of leftovers, including herbs, juices, and fruit. Try this: merlot, pomegranate juice, chopped plum, star anise, and muddled blackberry. Got a few splashes of chenin blanc sitting around? Mix with peach nectar, chopped apricot, and mint. You can truly experiment with whatever you have on hand—the possibilities are endless. Just purchase a popsicle mold at your local dollar store and start chillin’.
4. Make Spaghetti Sauce
There’s nothing more comforting (or easy) than pulling out a bag of frozen tomato sauce and carb-loading some serious pasta. Next time you’re in a productive mood, grab some onions, peppers, sausage, and garlic and throw ‘em in a pot. Once cooked, dump whatever good red wine you have leftover (a fruity cab, merlot, zinfandel, or syrah will work nicely) along with a big can of stewed tomatoes. Next? Let the whole thing simmer on low until it tastes like heaven. Add salt, pepper, and dried herbs to taste—the more herbs the better, in my humble opinion. Save a few containers in the fridge for the weeks ahead, then freeze the rest in Ziploc® bags (they make great gifts!). When you spend all day making this irresistible, savory sauce, you’ll want to make enough to feed a hungry army, or at least your kid’s little league team.
5. Make Artisanal Desserts and Cocktails
You probably have an ice cream maker gathering dust in the back of your cabinet, right? Well, I doubt you’ve used it much over the past five years (or longer), but all that’s about to change. When you can create chocolate-malbec bliss or melon-chardonnay perfection, that As Seen on TV purchase looks a whole lot more appealing, doesn’t it? First, cook the wine on the stove to rid it of its alcohol flavor. Next, add sugar and fruit to the mix. Reduce down to a sweet, rich syrup. Add that syrup to your ice cream and you have just created a $15 restaurant-style artisanal dessert at home! Want to get really decadent? Drip that yummy sauce on plain store-bought vanilla and garnish with a few sprigs of basil or mint. Oh, and I have not forgotten the segment of population that would rather drink their calories (hi mom!). Simply take that sexy syrup and mix with a dash of soda water and vermouth for a fantastic, handcrafted cocktail. Serve with muddled fruit and you’ll be adding “mixologist” to your LinkedIn profile in no time.
Remember, recycle, reuse, refill!
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at [email protected].
No Leftovers for These Wines!
You won’t be using these bestselling wines in recipes – they’re just too good to last.
Leave it to a blind judging to “expose” a stellar wine from an unexpected region. This wine shows all the depth and complexity that you’d expect from California areas well known for the variety, with aromas of roses, cherry, talc, subtle dry earth and mellow fall spice. The palate really delivers on the promise of the nose, with lively food friendly acidity and good grip that keeps things integrated through a long complex finish. No doubt this will get some Adelaida District neighbors to look at planting more Pinot Noir. A Platinum Award winner at the 2016 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition. – 96 Points Rich Cook Jan 19, 2016
Opolo Vineyards – 2013 Mountain Zinfandel
If you are one of those that believe bigger is better, read on. Appropriately named both for its beautiful bouquet of fruit, as well as where the grapes are grown, this full-bodied Zinfandel has plenty of black cherry, plum and spice and is framed by soft tannins and balanced acidity. Zinfandel isn’t known as America’s most decadent red for nothing. – Double Gold Medal, San Francisco Chronicle
Rich in a deep brick red color, and a nose that has an amazing array of black fruit, plum, leather, and spice. Remarkably well balanced and elegant flavors of cassis, dried herbs, super ripe plum and earth almost overwhelm the palate. As the finish lingers for an eternity, all you can think of is enjoying another sip!
Fantastic flavors of ripe fruit, with integrated oak and soft tannins abound, while strawberry, plum, and blueberry come alive on the nose. Rich elements of hazelnut, tobacco, and grilled meats follow. The palate is breathtaking from start to finish, no jagged edges or rough terrain, it is simply smooth.
This bestselling deep, mystical, ruddy Syrah pairs wonderfully with turkey, pork, or red meat.
This is the wine the West Side of Paso Robles is famous for! Complex without being fussy, fruity without destroying the pallet with syrupy sweetness. The bouquet from this wine makes one think of a climbing trees in a cherry orchard, with ripe fruit and fresh bark intermingled with hints of freshly turned earth and lavender blossoms. Once a sip is taken, you can enjoy the fruit forward character, highlighted by red plums and pears, backed by leather with eucalyptus notes. The lively exercise of refined fruit flavors and full tannins will repeatedly bring you back to the glass for more of this outstanding wine.
Get home safe from those holiday parties and winery visits with some of the best and most knowledgable drivers in the business! Drive805 is your best choice for winery transportation on the Central Coast. Find out more at Drive805.com
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout: