A Minor Wine Emergency: The Results

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-23-2010

Earlier this week I posted about the horror of coming home to an overheated wine ‘fridge. Here’s a rundown of how the seven wines I’ve consumed have fared after sitting in 90+ degree temps for the better part of a day:

1. 2007 Sunset Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Consumed the night of discovery. I’ve had many bottle of this wine in the past, and this was easily the best of the bunch. For a young wine, everything was in harmony, from the red fruits up front to the smooth vanilla finish. A perfect example of why I love Cab Franc.

2. 1995 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon Library Release – Consumed night of discovery due to its age. Didn’t hold out much hope that this had survived but it was in a great place. It performed like I expected, like a Cali cab of years past. Pleasantly surprised.

3. 2007 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Windsor Oaks Vineyard – Consumed within a week. I have no experience with Eric Kent wines, but this wine smacked me in the face. It was similar to drinking liquefied strawberry jelly. Was it flawed?

4. 2006 Carlisle Russian River Valley Syrah – Consumed within a week. Unlike the Kent, I have plenty of experience with this particular bottling and vintage. This bottle was clearly cooked. Reminiscent of sticking your tongue to the end of a battery. Fed the drain.

5. 2003 Girard Artistry – Consumed within a week. Blah. Nothing happening here. Not bad, but certainly not good. No fruit, no tannin, just a light alcoholic taste. I have no frame of reference with this wine, but I believe it was killed by the temps based on CellarTracker notes.

6. 2005 Chateau de Clairefont Bordeaux – Consumed within two weeks. Another wine I have enjoyed several times in the past. Never a wine you’d mistake for a first growth, but always offered a solid amount of structure and character for the price (~$25). Not this bottle. Hints of light fruit were readily evident, but there wasn’t much else going on. The finish was incredibly short, which jived with the incredibly boring impression made by this bottle. Have to believe it was adversely affected by the heat, although not overtly cooked.

7. 2007 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Pinor Noir Freestone – After the first bottle of Kent pinot, I waited a few weeks to open this bottle to see if it would be different. It wasn’t. Anyone had these? Is this consistent with other Kent bottlings or do you think these were flawed?

8. 2006 Patrick Lesec Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Bargeton – This bottle is meant to age, so I’m hoping it held up. I plan to crack it soon as there’s no sense in waiting 15-20 years given the high probability that it won’t show as well as it should.

So what’d I learn from this unintentional experience? If this happens to you, open the bottles as soon as possible. In hindsight, I wish I would have opened the stars of this group in the hopes that they were clinging to life. Instead, I panicked and opened the Sunset Hills Cab Franc because it was familiar and would provide me a frame of reference. As it is, I’ve pulled through this traumatic and lived to drink another day.

Comments (3)

  1. Maybe it is just the engineer in me, but I think I’m still more curious about the wine fridge and how it malfunctioned than I am about the wine. :-) Was the room temp 92 degrees or did it actually heat the wine? If you are rethinking your storage strategy, I’d be interested in reading about it.

  2. Hahah, I’m curious as to what went wrong myself. The temp inside the unit was every bit of 92 degrees. The temp in my apartment was no more than 72. The outside of the bottles that were in the unit were quite warm to the touch, so the wine was certainly heated.

    As far as a storage strategy, I think my first move is to buy an apartment large enough to house a large Eurocave-like unit. Until then, I store my age-worthy bottles in my parents’ passive cellar!

    Thanks for chiming in, and Happy Thanksgiving!


  3. Greg,

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Eric Kent pinots I’ve had — they’ve reminded me of the Russian River wines from Porter Creek and Donatello. Definitely new world with the strong, slightly tart (but not candied) cherry — but still elegant. I suspect these wines were damaged by the heat.