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I've made a sauce with some white wine (with cream & tarragon) but it's really sharp. Probably the wine was a bit old, or I didn't boil it off well enough - is there any way to fix it?
And what's the most likely cause?

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  • Your suggestion was on point. My mushroom in red wine sauce was bold in flavor. I heated it up then simmer and its perfect. Thank you so much.
    – Maggie
    Aug 12, 2017 at 21:48

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If "sharp" means too much alcohol left, bring it back to a simmer and cook off more of it, then adjust with more cream if needed.

If "sharp" means too acidic, your options are:

(1) add more cream and other ingredients to dilute the acid (2) try to mask the acid with a bit of sugar (3) I guess you could try to neutralize the acid with a very small amount of something basic, like baking soda. But that seems like a bad idea, it will probably taste terrible.

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  • I kept on cooking it - added some stock and a little more cream. Tasted great - thanks :)
    – Martyn
    Oct 31, 2011 at 21:49
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    Adding baking soda will react with any acid to form salts. So the food will taste bad. You're first suggestion of using sugar is probably best. Personally, I'd bin it an try again with a better wine. Always taste a wine before putting it into your dish. If the wine tastes bad then the resulting sauce will also taste bad. Nov 1, 2011 at 5:30
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    @Rincewind42: Sure, but I think the OP (like many of us) clearly preferred to salvage the sauce, rather than throw it away, go shopping, and start all over before having dinner.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 1, 2011 at 14:55
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Baking soda works perfect it saved me many times :) but you need to be very careful with the amount it has to just a little bit. I’m adding no more than 1/4 of a tea spoon and it’s enough for a saucepan with a dinner for two.

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We tried this and had the same reaction with the cringing at the end. Per comments I added butter, half and half, garlic, onion powder, chili powder and at least now it's palatable!!! And I don't have to throw it away and all the fresh bread I just cut up to have with fondue that would go stale quickly.

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