Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Wine Gone Bad

Some simple red wine advice from Eclectic Dilettante, the non-expert, budding wine snob.
Sometimes red wine is corked (gone bad) straight out of the bottle and sometimes it just sucks. The big question is how to tell the difference between taste bud issues and 'spoilage'. Especially in a restaurant where wine can get real expensive real quick. When are there grounds for legitimately refusing a bottle of wine?

The answer is really easy. There are 4 distinct aromas/flavors that indicate a wine is corked; burning rubber, vinegar, mildew and mold. Any one of these elements is enough to get a refund.
  1. Burning rubber should not be confused with road tar. Road tar is good. Burning rubber is bad.
  2. Mold and mildew are just that. Nasty side effects from poor hygiene at the winery. Mold and mildew should not be confused with damp earth. Damp earth, like road tar, is good.
  3. Vinegar. That's usually a defective cork.
Any of these four problems should net an apology and a different bottle from a restaurant. Don't ever suffer through an overpriced bottle of corked wine. If the waiter balks, invite him to try it. That should fix his bippie. Bad bottle at home? With a receipt the wine can be returned to the shop it came from. My favorite store limits returns to one year. Throwing a real special dinner party? A back up bottle can be a good idea.

If the wine fails to please and doesn't have one of these 4 aromas/flavors, it's not corked. It probably just sucks. Unfortunately, wines that suck don't get refunds. There is some hope for a wine that sucks....decant it.

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