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I live in New Orleans and my wine collection (about 500 bottles) has undergone a major catastrophe because of Katrina. The wines reached a steady temperature of just under 90 degrees for over a month. This is obviously not good, but how bad is it? Many of the wines still taste quite good. But I don't know what to do with wines that need aging (i.e. 2000 Bordeaux). Should I give up on aging any of them and drink them now? I may have to decide whether to sell them all cheaply to the insurance company.

Also, on some of the corks I see small crystals. Anybody know what they might be?
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Hi DNAGuy.

I discussed your wine predicament with Tom Matthews and we agreed that, at the very least, your wines' aging has been sped up and their plateau has been shortened.

The remaining question is: Have they been cooked? Drastic overheating would have an immediate affect on the wine. The aromas and flavors might seem subdued or dull, less than fresh, and even, well, cooked.

To see if your wines have been cooked, you'll need to open a few bottles. Since different wines will have different reactions, you should try a young wine, a mature wine, a more delicate wine and maybe also a heartier wine.

Please report your findings to the forum. We're interested in hearing how your wines fared.

If you do find that some need to be drunk now, my husband and I will be in New Orleans over Thanksgiving (celebrating our first anniversary in the town where we were married) and we'll be happy to help.

How did our wines fare? My husband, who has been working in New Orleans off and on since Katrina, pulled the few remaining cases of wedding wine from our apartment on Chartres and took them over to Molly's, where they were happily consumed.

As for the crystals, did they form after you chilled the wines down again? They are harmless tartrates that sometimes precipitate out when wines are chilled down. They do not indicate anything about the state of your wines' health or flavor or aging. Just pull the corks carefully so the crystals don't end up in your wine glass; they do not enhance the texture.

With my best wishes.
Last edited by theschoolmarm

Thank you very much for your reply. I have been taste testing many of the wines and have not found any that I think are ruined. I have been looking around to see if I can find some identical bottles that didn't go through Katrina, but have only lined up one so far. A few of us want to try parallel tastings of cooked vs. uncooked wines.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to New Orleans. We were in Paris with our daughters over the Thanksgiving holiday. The good news is that my insurance just fully reimbursed me for my wines so I have plenty of money to buy more.
But I don't know what to do with wines that need aging (i.e. 2000 Bordeaux). Should I give up on aging any of them and drink them now?

Not sure this is a real person (given that quote), but even if it's BS - this is an example of why I don't buy wine from strangers.

Watch out for New Orleans wine sellers VIA auction sites Eek

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