So with the warmer weather here lately I’ve been thinking about what happens to wine when it overheats. My wine unit storage capacity is outstripped by my current inventory, so I’ve been trying to figure out where to put the excess bottles to avoid them cooking in my non-A/C cooled apartment. “Cooked” wine is considered flawed and is identifyable by a smell of cheap sherry or burnt caramel and a thinned-out flavor profile. Of course us wine enthusiasts know that wine should be stored in a dark, cool (55 degrees Faranheit give-or-take a few degrees), vibration-free environment.
I recently returned a cooked bottle to the nice peeps at Groton Market who replaced it for me. The tip-off was the capsule (the foil) – it was stuck to the bottle as seepage had occured. The overheated wine had pushed the cork partway out of the bottle. I tried to cut off the top of the capsule and a musty odor of the seeped vino was identifiable and my hands got wet without even getting the capsule off. Here’s a pic of the offending bottle:
There’s a good article about wine flaws in general here at Wine Enthusiast Magazine Unreserved blog by Jim Gordon.
I’ve also smelled Corked wine, where the cork has been infected with TCA, at a tasting in a store. Once you’ve smelled that wet musty cardboard/newspaper smell, you can’t mistake it for anything else.
In Elin Mccoy’s biography of Robert Parker, The Emperor of Wine, which I just finished reading, is described an unfortunate episode that resulted in monumentally hurt feelings and lawsuits that was at bottom an incident of wine cookery. L’Affaire Faiveley ocurred when Parker in 1993 noted that barrel samples from respected Burgundian wine producer Francois Faiveley tasted better than what ended up in bottle. Faiveley was enraged at the implied fraud and sued. The root of the problem was that the American importer of Faiveley’s wines was storing them in a non-temperature controlled warehouse, stacked to the top, where temps reached 95 degrees.
Also recently one of my local wine stores, Salem Wine Imports, which I blogged about recently in regards to a tasting of Isole e Olena wines, experienced a meltdown of sorts when a heating unit was left on all weekend to temps of 90-95 degrees. The store owner blogs about it here. It makes me sad to think of all that gorgeous Cepparello going down the drain!
So, have you ever experienced Cooked wine, and what are your thoughts if you have?