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I've had a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes on the shelf for a while but opened it last night for cooking. How should I store the remainder, as I'll be using it rather slowly?

It's a very lightly fortified wine, only 15.5%. I'd keep sherry (18%) tightly stoppered and on the shelf for weeks, but would freeze a strong red if it wasn't going to be used in a few days.

Drinking it up isn't an option as I'm not much of a drinker, especially alone. So should I treat it like a stronger fortified wine, or like normal wine?

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So should I treat it like a stronger fortified wine, or like normal wine?

Treat it like a sweet wine, because that's what it is.

While 15.5% alcohol isn't very much, sugar is a great preservative, too. According to your Wikipedia link, MdR has a required minimum residual sugar of 100 g/l. A bottle of decent Sauternes (for exampel Suduiraut, which at my vendor has vintages ranging 116-135 g/l) can keep for weeks (under cork, in the fridge).

A third factor that comes into play is also the amount of sulphur (SO2) added to the wine, which usually is quite high in sweet wine, although vins doux naturels might be a different story, since SO2 is not as important to stop fermentation when you're also fortifying. (Finding out how much SO2 there's in the wine is usually not very easy, unless the producer is opposed to its use and wants to tell you how little there is in their wine.)

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    In the end I froze some but not all, and after about 10 days in the fridge it tasted just like when I opened it (very sweet). Strangely it's completely liquid at -16 C, even though adding the freezing point depression effects of alcohol and (plenty of) sugar suggests it should freeze no lower than about -10 and red wine of 15% is a slush still capable of flowing when stored in the same drawer of the freezer – Chris H Apr 8 at 9:58
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Treat it like normal wine, 15% isn't enough alcohol to preserve it. Refrigerated it will be drinkable for up to 2 weeks and you should be able to cook with it for a bit longer than that. I'm not a huge fan of freezing wine, especially if you're going to be thawing and then re-freezing it, although for cooking you can get away with it.

Incidentally, most sherries do not have a long shelf-life and should be treated the same way.

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  • I freeze in small containers, and get out a container or two depending on the recipe, so freezing would work without the need for repeated freezing. Strong reds flow even when apparently frozen so I assume this would too and I'd have to be careful. Conclusion: freeze some, use the rest over a week or two. My sherry is a bit good for cooking, but that's mainly what it's used for these days, and seems to survive, but room temp is rather cool in my house. – Chris H Mar 25 at 8:50

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