You've purchased a wine you have never tried before.
You open it and pour. As you lift the glass to your lips a slight shiver of anticipation, hope, and even fear crawls up the back of your neck and into your throat. After all, it was pretty inexpensive. You lose all confidence. You look at your spouse to view their reaction as the tannins hit your tongue, which recoils to the roof of your mouth; wounded, indignant at your ignorance.
You should have listened to your nose.
It will be days before your palette will consider anything less than the best of the familiar wines in your mental repertoire.
You hate throwing things away, although dignity begs it of you. Hmm...
You could make a sauce.
Please, don't do that. The sauce is only as good as the wine you use, I don't care how many days you cook it.
No, no, no. Even more true with this sacred, often misunderstood, and refreshing libation.
It's time you go Medieval.
Back in the Dark Ages of no refrigeration, salt cured meats, and fermented vegetables buried in the ground next to your front door; wine didn't always age well. Lo, what a few scoops of sugar, some water, and spices can do. You can use citrus, honey, clove, nutmeg, and any number of ingredients to mull a wine. It's even become a Holiday tradition.
On top of that, you gain the self gratification of being a slightly less conspicuous consumer, recycling both the bottle and its contents. Good one, you. You remind me of my Great Grandmother.
1 bottle of oops wine
1/2 Cup Brandy
1/4 cup raw sugar, Xylitol, or Agave Nectar
(adjust quantities of alternative sweeteners)
1 T. Raw Honey
Zest of a small orange, sans pith, smashed
Small chunk of fresh Ginger root (1" by 1" or so)
2-3 Cinnamon sticks
3-5 Whole Cloves
1-2 Whole Nutmegs
Pinch of Whole Cardamon Pods
Adjust, tweak, omit, and add ingredients as you like.
Bring all ingredients to a steaming hot pre-simmer over moderate heat. The slower, the better the Mull. Do not allow wine to boil, as you'll lose the alcohol. Strain into a warm beverage pitcher or punch bowl. Reserve spice mixture for up to a week for your next mistake or even intentional Mull. It's quite good.
So, get into the Holiday Spirit.