When faced with a situation like this, use the tricks to get the best of it.
1. Chill it downAs temperatures drop, flavours become muted. Most of us drink our worthy white wine too cold, but just-above-freezing is the perfect temperature for lesser bottles.
2. Mix it into a spritzer or sangria.
3. If it’s red, drink it with mushroomsFor reasons that wine-world pseudoscience hasn’t yet ventured to explain, umami-rich mushrooms tend to make ho-hum reds taste better.
If your wine’s specific problem is a sandpapery mouthfeel, add red meat: Fat and protein both neutralize rough tannins.
4. If it’s sweet, drink it with something spicySadly, assertive cuisines like Thai and Indian tend to obliterate the delicious nuances of great wines. Happily, they’ll also obliterate the unpleasant nuances of bad wines. If your palate is busy dealing with garam masala or another intense spice combination, it’s not going to notice that your low-rent Riesling is lacking a bit in acidity.
5. If it’s oaky, drink it while you’re grillingDoes your cheap Chardonnay
Smoky foods work well with smoky wines, and a charcoal-grilled meat is the best kind of distraction for your palate.
6. Drop a copper coin into itThis won’t work on any old not-so-great wine, but if you have a bottle that smells like struck matches or rotten eggs, adding a penny to your glass might actually help.
Certain sulfur-related compounds can cause these smells, and copper makes them dissipate. Clean a coin, drop it in, swirl, remove and enjoy. When it works, the difference is amazing.
7. Bake it into a chocolate cakeOK, this is actually a tip for making bad wine eatable. While you typically shouldn’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, that rule can be relaxed a bit for baking.
With sugar, chocolate and whipped cream involved, the wine contributes only a mild boozy note to this surprisingly good dessert.
This post was originally published by Food & Wine.