Recently, James Laube wrote a column ("How to Beat the Heat," Nov 15, 2007 WS issue)suggesting that poor shipping and warehouse storage practices make wines vulnerable to getting cooked due to heat exposure; what is the telltale sign or taste of a cooked wine?
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Taste: of Madeira, or of cooked/stewed fruits (as opposed to "fresh", "jammy", or even "preserves").

Visually, in a glass: browning in hue.

Visually, prior to purchase: capsule does not move freely (although not always the case), any wine leakage especially directly underneath the capsule, a raised cork, or sometimes you can even determine a cooked wine by just smelling the cork area!

Hope that helps!
Sancho,

You live in a warm part of the country. Go get a couple of nice QPRs you like (same wine). Take one, wrap the hell out of the top with duct tape, put it in a plastic bag, and leave it in the trunk of your car for a month. If you get several days over 80, this should work fine. Bring both the "cooked" bottle, and the good bottle to the tasting temp, and you'll find out what's what in a hurry.
The classic oxidation taint is bruised apple, sometimes a little stewed fig. It may not seem bad at first, but having had my palate taken over by this flavor (acetaldehyde) at a major tasting, let me tell you - if it smells like bruised apples, DO NOT TASTE IT! You run the risk of getting it stuck in your palate, interfering with your tasting. Just toss it.

Color is a hint, but I've had a perfectly dark 2003 red italian wine that was totally oxidized. Trust your sniffer.

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