How to Know If Your Wine Has Gone Bad

Have you ever opened a bottle of wine, poured a glass, taken a sip, and then asked yourself "Has this wine gone bad?"  Sometimes a defective wine is hard to establish, but other times there is no question that the bottle has gone bad.

Last week I went to one of those 'big box' wine stores to pick up a few bottles of wine. Among them was a rosé for the Valentine's Day weekend. The rosé was produced by a reputable California winery that I've purchased from previously. I brought it home and chilled it. When I took it out to serve, I noticed that as I poured it, there were definite orange and brown hues to the ordinarily pink rosé. This was my first clue. Then, upon taking my first sip I noticed it had a nutty flavor and other odd flavors that I would not associate with a fresh, fruity rosé. I immediately wondered if the bottle's seal was bad. But it looked fine. I then looked at the label.  This was my final clue.  And, shame on me for not noticing in the store, but the rosés vintage date was 2012. This was a three-plus year old bottle of rosé. That was the primary issue. It was too old. And, who knows how it had been stored over those three-plus years.  But nonetheless, the wine had gone bad.

So, shame on me. I should have paid more attention to the date on the bottle in the store. With rosé's and white wines, they are best consumed young, within a couple of years of their vintage date, if stored properly. But, also shame on the wine seller. They should have better control on their inventory and know when something on their shelf is too old.

In this case, the thing to do is to take your receipt and the bottle back to the store where you purchased it. Any reputable wine seller (even a grocery store) should refund your money on a bad bottle.

In future postings I'll address how long you should keep a wine and why some wines age better than others.  And, you may be surprised at the aging recommendations for most wines.  For now, hoping all your wines are good ones! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ Wine of the Week - Bear Boat Russian River Pinot Noir ($18)

A really nice Pinot Noir. It has flavors of cherries, raspberries and cola. This is a delicate Pinot Noir that can be enjoyed with most foods, but pairs really well with salmon.