Ask Sid: When is it too late to open that bottle of wine?

September 3rd, 2014

wine vinegar
By Taro Taylor from Sydney, Australia (Splash Drip) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Question: I was at a friend’s house and saw that he had a bottle of 1998 Pouilly Fuisse Bouchard Pere in his wine console so I decided to take a few pics with my cell phone camera.  Is it still drinkable?  I don’t know what temperature he keeps his house or the humidity levels.  Is there some sort of rule of thumb on when a bottle turns into vinegar?

Answer: I would open this wine as soon as possible regardless of storage. Could still be alive as a softer Chardonnay showing a deeper yellow colour with still some regional aged spicy smoky nut character.  However, could also be an oxidizing or maderizing bottle. Check it out now as it won’t improve. Suggest you maybe have some soft runny mature French cheese like Epoisses or Soumaintrain ready to match with it. Bouchard Pere is a top firm since 1731 with large prime vineyard holdings but this wine uses purchased grapes from the more southerly Maconnais region of Burgundy with the difficult 1998 vintage conditions including hail, frost and even mildew. There is no strict rule of thumb of when a wine turns to vinegar. Dry reds usually last longer than dry whites. Chardonnay grown in the top vineyards proven to provide underlying structure to their wines like Corton Charlemagne & Meursault Perrieres age and develop consistently for the longest period – providing you can avoid the recent curse of premox (premature oxidation)! Hopefully enjoy.

 photo 1(3)  photo 2(3)

Ask Sid Cross about wine and food

Do you have a bottle of wine that you think has turned into vinegar?

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September 3rd, 2014

One Response

  1. The rule of thumb of when a bottle of wine will turn to vinegar is when it has been kept too long and usually under less than ideal conditions. To avoid having to pour your wines down the drain, and this is especially true for white wine, drink them within a year or two of their vintage dates. I know there is a lot of opinion by some so-called wine experts who advocate “aging” white burgundies but it is essentially “baloney.” White wines should be drunk when they are young, crisp, fresh, and when they smell and taste like wine and not like sherry. If you drink your white wines young, you won’t have to pour them down the drain.

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