Chianti is a light and dry wine, which makes it the perfect addition to your dinner table over holidays or family get-togethers. However, things don’t seem so peachy once you find yourself with an opened bottle of Chianti, looking for a way to make it last after opening.
The general rule is that wines last around 3 to 5 days once open and appropriately stored. Although this might be true for full-bodied reds like Merlot, Chianti is light to medium-bodied wine, depending on the quality.
Needless to say, it is not a dense wine, so how long would Chianti last once it’s been opened? Come find out!
Once opened, Chianti should be consumed within one to three days. While full-bodied reds can be more forgiving and stay suitable for consumption for up to five days, light red wines like Chianti should be consumed soon after the bottle has been opened. The sooner you finish the Chanti bottle after opening, the better.
However, how long Chianti wine lasts depends on whether you stored it correctly in its half-consumed state. Red wines like Chianti should be stored in a cool place (more on this later) away from sunlight. This will keep the wine safe for consumption for longer.
The minimum alcohol content in Chianti is between 11% to 13.5%, which usually makes for a lighter, crisper drink rather than a more full-bodied glass of wine.
Wines, like Chianti, when on the lower alcohol content scale (under 12.5%), tend to have shorter shelf life than those with 12.5% to 13.5% ABV aka the medium-bodied variety.
While light-boded only survive one to three days after opening, medium-bodied Chianti can, hypothetically, have an extended life of up to five to seven days. But, in our opinion, it is better to consume all opened Chianti within two to three days to enjoy all the subtle flavor notes in this exceptional red wine.
The critical question is, will your opened Chianti wine go bad? More importantly, should you be worried if you have consumed glass after it has gone past the point of consumption?
First things first, having wine that has gone bad or tired improperly will not make you sick. The worst thing that can happen is consuming flat-tasting wine. Since you will immediately be able to tell the wine has gone bad by how it looks, tastes, or smells, you won’t consume it in large enough quantities to cause you any permanent harm.
But why does Chianti wine go bad? The one-word answer to this question is oxidation.
The more surface is exposed to oxygen, the quicker the wine will go bad. The oxidation process turns red wine like Chianti into vinegar, rendering it unpalatable.
The more Chianti minimizes contact with oxygen, the longer it can be consumed after being opened. Re-corking the opened wine bottle the right way and storing it correctly can extend its relatively short shelf life once it’s been partly enjoyed.
Another thing to know is the tell-tale signs for when your Chianti wine has gone bad. The good news is that you will be able to tell the wine has gone bad before gulping it down in almost all instances.
The color is the first, and often the biggest, giveaway that the Chianti has lived its life. You will notice a change in its trademark bright red appearance, with the liquid looking rather dull and lacking luster.
The next thing to check is the smell. In case you have never smelled a wine gone bad, people describe the stink as that of a nail polish remover, wet cardboard, or a wet dog. (Yikes!) Safe to say, you won’t be drinking that leftover Chianti.
If these apparent signs are missing, or you just aren’t sure about the wine going bad, buckle up for a taste. Chances are you may have a drinkable wine on your hand, which, let’s be honest, is a risk worth taking. If the wine tastes vinegary (not cherry tart like typical Chianti), your leftover wine has gone bad.
We already know that Chianti wine is better enjoyed within three days of being opened. However, improper storage of an opened bottle can further shorten this period. In contrast, store your Chianti the right way, and you may even be able to enjoy the medium-bodied variety for up to a week.
If you have been unable to polish off an entire bottle of Chianti, follow these eight storage tips to ensure your precious beverage does not go to waste.
- Every time you pour yourself a glass, re-cork the wine properly.
- Store the bottle away from sunlight in a cool place well under room temperature.
- Contrary to popular belief, you can store an open red wine like Chianti in the fridge after it’s been opened. The cold temperature works to slow down all chemical processes, including oxidation, preserving your wine for longer.
- Reduce the surface area, preventing excessive oxidation, by storing the wine upright rather than on the side.
- A sudden temperature change can also ruin your wine’s flavor. If removing the Chianti from the fridge, use lukewarm water to warm it up. Make sure not to use hot water.
- If you do not want to store the Chianti in the fridge, find a cool place away from the window, which may give way to sun exposure.
- Any place above 70 degrees Fahrenheit is a no-no to store open Chianti.
- Consider buying a wine preserver system like a vacuum pump or inert gas wine preservation system.
Re-corked wine stirred in the fridge will last you longer than three days in most cases.
The rules change a little when it comes to unopened Chainti storage. However, cellaring most Chianti varieties is usually advisable as this type of wine is typically tailored to consume young, under five years for vintage. Although, the DOCG Riserva is aged for up to a decade, with a minimum of two years.
Remember that the region is changing up wine recipes and improving every day, so Chianti varieties that age better are definitely on the horizon.
Chianti has well-balanced flavors of sweetness, spice, earthiness, and tartness, with various subtle hints of berry-like fruitiness and sometimes even smokiness. All these overlapping flavors are best tasted when the wine is served chilled.
When we say chilled, we do not mean cold. The ideal temperature to serve Chianti is between 57 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can achieve by placing the bottle in the fridge for an hour before serving.
A universal red wine glass works fine when serving Chianti. More specifically, you should go for a wine glass with a narrow rim and average base size. A tapered glass design is the best pick to accentuate the earthiness and fruity fullness of Chianti. Such a glass serves any bold-flavored, acidic wine well.
Final Thoughts on Storing Chianti
Chianti wine is a light to medium-bodied dry red wine, which can last from three to five days after being opened. However, enjoying the wine within three days of opening it is the best bet for optimal taste.
After the wine is open, store it in a cool place, away from sunlight, and make sure it is adequately corked. You can also refrigerate the wine to keep the oxidation process at bay for as long as possible. Before drinking Chianti that has already been opened, make sure to inspect the color and smell or take a small sip to ensure it hasn’t gone bad.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about storing and enjoying a previously opened bottle of Chianti wine.
Read Also: Can You Cook With Chianti Wine?