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Why did this red wine go off?

(12 Posts)
Parisbanana Fri 20-Jan-17 21:42:32

We were given a bottle of red wine last Christmas (a year ago) as a present. Knowing the person that gave it to us, I don't think it would have been especially cheap. We decided to keep it for a special occasion.
So we opened it tonight (it isn't a special occasion, we just decided to have it!) and it tasted off. A bit like if you keep a bottle open for 3 or 4 days. I thought wine improved with age? Anyone able to enlighten me?
TIA

empirerecordsrocked Fri 20-Jan-17 21:46:12

Corked or screw top. Some wines do just cork. If it was screw and cheap (not necessarily) it may not want to have been kept. Corked wine has a unique horrible taste - vinegary and musty.

What wine was it?

Mum2jenny Fri 20-Jan-17 21:48:52

Wine bottles, if they have a real cork, are best stored on their side as it keeps the cork wet. Obviously this is not relevent with screw caps.

NicknameUsed Fri 20-Jan-17 21:52:39

OH tries to avoid buying wine with corks in these days because if you keep it for ages before drinking it you can't return it.

Did it have a cork in it?

Parisbanana Fri 20-Jan-17 21:58:22

It was a plastic "cork".
A Merlot ( don't know exactly what as dh has bunged the bottle out in the recycling)

I was just interested as I'm not very knowledgeable about wine, I just know what I like grin but don't think I'm on my own in having thought wine improved with age!

justdontevenfuckingstart Fri 20-Jan-17 22:02:02

If you left it standing up the cork may have dried out. Better to store on their side. I don't think the recommendation is to keep now. Just drink it.

travailtotravel Fri 20-Jan-17 22:03:06

How did you store it? Side or upright
What temperature? Did it stay steady or get hot and get cold?

Merlot with a plastic cork doesn't sound that expensive tbh

LemonyFresh Fri 20-Jan-17 22:07:35

Wine with a screw top or synthetic cork can still have a 'corked' taste.

The gas produced in question is different, but can still have the same sort of taste.

Parisbanana Fri 20-Jan-17 22:13:57

travailtotravel had a look of expensive!! Classy label (told you i know nothing grin but I think you're right, it probably wasn't!

We stored it in a cool, generally dark cupboard on its side in a wine rack.

Anyway I think I'll just go with the advice upthread to just drink, not keep. Thanks for that justdontevenfuckingstart smile

Parisbanana Fri 20-Jan-17 22:15:34

Thanks everyone smile

Otherpeoplesteens Tue 24-Jan-17 15:22:00

A bit late to this, sorry, but a plastic "cork" such as one by Nomacorc (other makes are available) just isn't designed for long term cellaring - you get a shelf life of perhaps two years at the most. If it wasn't brand new when it was given to you then it's possible, likely even, that the closure had simply reached the end of its life already.

It is an incomplete truth that wine improves with age. Certain types of wine, in bottles with proper (i.e. not recycled or agglomerate) cork stoppers, have bottle ageing potential when stored in good conditions - low fluctuations in temperature, in the dark, on their sides to keep the cork wet. Because cork is a natural material, there is always the risk of fungal contamination reacting with the cork to produce cork "taint". As a PP pointed out, "corked" wine is very distinctive - musty, mildewy, like mouldy newspaper or something. It is quite different from one which has simply been left open for too long and has turned to vinegar. But because natural cork is the only type of stopper which allows the tiny amounts of oxygen needed for in-bottle ageing to take place, and because it is a requirement of many European DOC rules, we continue to use it for very top quality wines intended for cellaring and have to accept that a proportion of bottles will become tainted.

The vast majority of the wine available in the UK, particularly anything from a national supermarket or off-licence chain and anything under, realistically, about £15 a bottle, simply isn't in that category to begin with however. Most wines nowadays are made to be drunk within a couple of years of production (not least because the storage costs to the producer are potentially huge) and because ageing isn't really a consideration alternative stoppers to natural cork are used to eliminate the risk of corking.

If it has a screw cap (which lets in no oxygen at all), it won't improve with age and although it might get a bit flabby as it gets older it shouldn't really spoil if the seal remains intact. If it has a plastic stopper (which lets too much in, albeit imperceptibly), it won't last more than a couple of years regardless.

Parisbanana Tue 24-Jan-17 15:49:36

Thanks so much othepeoplesteens that is really interesting and answers a load of questions!

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