On a trip to wine country earlier this year, I picked up several bottles of wine. Included in my wines was a Reserve Chardonnay that I had gotten in Alexander Valley. In the tasting room it was excellent.
After purchasing the wines, I was very careful to control their temperature by not leaving them in the car or exposing them to significant sunlight. And, while on the road, the wines always spend the night in the cool hotel room, not the car. Once home, the wines were moved either to cool, dark closets or to the wine refrigerator (always need a bigger wine refrig!) where they are stored on their side with the cork slightly down.
For a recent dinner, I brought out the slightly chilled Reserve Chardonnay, pulled the cork and poured a glass. I immediately noticed the color of the Chardonnay. Instead of the usual pale straw color (like the one on the left in the photo), this wine was golden-brown in color (like the one on the right in the photo). That seemed really odd. I then took a sniff. The aroma was not that of a fruity, tropical Chardonnay. It was noticeably off. I went back to examine the cork (a natural cork) and found the issue. The cork was completely soaked all the way through. It had leaked and air had gotten into my Reserve Chardonnay. Ruined.
I didn't have to taste it. I already knew from the golden-brown color, the odd aroma and the soaked cork that this wine had gone bad. But, just to complete my experience, I did taste the wine. As expected, it had a very nutty (oxidized) flavor. A real let down since it was so good in tasting room.
I believe that I did everything properly on the handling and storage of this wine that I just purchased a few months ago. I just got ahold of a bottle with where the cork did not properly do its job.
It's always such a shame to buy a really nice bottle of wine only to find that its gone bad. So, if your wine has an unusual color, odd aroma and/or a nutty taste, you'll know it's not just a bad wine, it's a wine that's gone bad.
Here's to finding lots of great bottles of wine in your future! Cheers!