Oliver McCrum wrote:Are wines not obviously abused often nonetheless flawed? If so, what's the evidence?
Dale Williams wrote:I think most of us are too quick to decide what is wrong with wines when we find them not up to standards, whether our personal bugaboo is storage, closure, or whatevr.
I do think that while overall I think things have gotten better, a lot can still be done to improve the care of wines along the distribution chain. I've seen warm bottles be sent back from a good store, but I bet someone got them.
JC (NC) wrote:Similar to what Dale said I think stewed fruit may be a sympton of a cooked wine. I took several bottles of wine to an offline in the Finger Lakes but flew the day the airlines had an air traffic control computer crash. The plane sat on the tarmac at LaGuardia for about four hours in 80+ heat with my wines in the cargo hold with labeling saying "fragile" and "limit exposure to heat." Nothing to be done about it. None of the wines tasted right when opened. They were dull, flat or resembled stewed fruit.
Oliver McCrum wrote:I have seen more and more references to 'cooked' wine on the internet in the last few years. It would appear that wines that don't show as expected are often thought to be 'cooked,' although the symptoms seem to vary widely and one of the supposed symptoms (that the wine shows little or no change for some years and is then ruined) makes no sense. (I am not talking about wines with obvious visual signs of exposure to heat, such as 'pushed' corks and leakage.) Other symptoms sound to me suspiciously like random oxidation due to cork failure (anything in the caramelly range, for example, as was raised here recently).
What does the board think? Are wines not obviously abused often nonetheless flawed? If so, what's the evidence?
JC (NC) wrote:Similar to what Dale said I think stewed fruit may be a symptom of a cooked wine. I took several bottles of wine to an offline in the Finger Lakes but flew the day the airlines had an air traffic control computer crash. The plane sat on the tarmac at LaGuardia for about four hours in 80+ heat with my wines in the cargo hold with labeling saying "fragile" and "limit exposure to heat." Nothing to be done about it. None of the wines tasted right when opened. They were dull, flat or resembled stewed fruit.
I've had very few wines that I thought were obviously "cooked". I'm not sure I even know what a "cooked" wine actually tastes like. Blame it on lack of experience, I guess.
I've had wines that I know have stood upright on a retailers shelf for 4-5-6 yrs, whites mostly, that have a slightly nutty/oxidized character. Are these "cooked" or just from simple cork failure. I've also had, whites & reds, wines I've known to stand upright on shelves for 5-6 yrs, that also taste perfectly fine. As good as the correctly stored brethern?? Who knows?
I think people will oftentimes try a wine that does not meet their expectations and dismiss its poor showing to being "cooked", in a "dumb phase", or suffering still from "travel shock" (you&I have talked this subject before), some unknown malady. They're unwilling to consider the possibility that their expectations may be misplaced.
Oliver McCrum wrote:The sad truth is that until we find an alternative to cork there will be wide variation in bottles from the same case, treated identically; how one could seperate out other supposed subtle flaws I have no idea.
Oliver McCrum wrote:That said, I probably spend $12,000 or more a year to ship in refrigerated containers, so I'm not cavalier about the possibility of heat damage.
Oliver McCrum wrote:Tom, didn't you do an experiment with this once?
David M. Bueker wrote:As always it depends on the severity of the heat.
Some time in 80+ degree heat (hours/days, not minutes - too much thermal mass in a bottle of wine for instantaneous damage) will irreparably damage wine, but that damage may not be apparent for days, weeks or years. If the wine is to be consumed soon then perhaps anything but significant heating (e.g. being let in the back seat of a closed car in summer) is not that big a deal.
The problem is in aging the wine. Perfect provenance does yield better wine. Heat exposure either in transit or in a shop will ruin the wine's potential. I've had enough prematurely aged bottles that I could readily compare with well stored examples to know that heat damage is a fact of life.
Is it always possible to tell the difference between faulty cork and heat? Likely no. Does that really matter to me as a consumer? Absolutely not. If the bottle is compromised it's compromised.
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