December 8, 2008

Everyone Has Baggage

Early in my oenological career, I had the good fortune to tour the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia. Taking advantage of a strong US dollar, I shipped home several cases of great discoveries. The amiable fellow who handled the shipping told me to make sure I let the bottles sit for at least a few weeks upon receipt. The constant vibration of an airplane in flight disturbs the wine, he told me. You need to let them settle down.

This was my first encounter with the horrors of bottle shock.

It's a standard practice to let new inventory received at the Lab "rest" for 6-8 weeks.

But is this really necessary? Do we really need to let our bottles sit there for all that time?

We thought it would be interesting to run some tests.

First test up next.

(suitcase: © Gino Crescoli | )


Edward said...

I was contemplating a similar experiment.

Materials: 2 screwcap bottles (preferably red and in half bottles) to reduce / eliminate bottle to bottle variation. 1 car.

Experiment: Purchase both bottles at same time. Drive home. Remove one bottle and place in cool dark spot. Leave other bottle in car and drive to work. Leave wine in car. Work for 8 hours or more. Drive home.
Remove second bottle from car. Ask spouse to label and then mask both bottles of wine. Start drinking. . .

PS. What wines did you purchase from Margaret River?

Keith Levenberg said...

Except for wines with gunk and sediment I've never believed this old wives' tale. Looking forward to your results.

Chief Executive Researcher said...

I can't say I'd recommend leaving wine in the car.

Chief Executive Researcher said...

As for the river... I didn't keep as careful records back then (predates the Lab by some years), but it would have been the usual sorts of suspects. Lots of Cullen, Pierro, Cape Mentelle, a few things from Clairault and one or two from Voyager Estates (is that the winery that's Colonial Dutch Cape?). We actually keep buying from the MR Wine Centre until dollar weakness made it painful. Somebody had an interesting White Port (oxymoron I realize) but can't recall who.

Me too!

Edward said...

Good point about the cooked wine. Maybe just a long drive on a bumpy road while will suffice. . .

I think the white port might be made by Happs, though I think several other local producers have similar wines.

Yes, Voyager is the Cape Dutch cellar door. Lovely rose garden too.

The Aussie dollar is only buying 65 US cents now, maybe a good time to buy more Margaret river wine!