Science is fun! If not sometimes problematic…
Wine making is a science project. Heck, the entire liquor industry is one big experiment! That’s a big part of what makes wine so darn fun to taste and learn about.
So here’s my latest evidence… Last Thursday night I wanted a nice glass of something “comforting” with my dinner. I had a bottle of a baby (e.g. $10) 2005 Bordeaux in my wine fridge I knew would scratch the itch perfectly. I unscrewed the cap (yep! a screw cap, so no fear of a corked bottle), poured myself a glass and began sipping. It was exactly as I remembered: bright red-berry fruit with hints of caramel, a supple mouthfeel, gentle tannins and a lingering, slightly spicy finish. I finished the first glass with dinner and poured myself a second while I watched the game. Yum. Since it was a 2005 Bordeaux, I decided to cap the bottle (rather than pump the air out) and tucked it back in my fridge for another night or two to see what it would do.
On Saturday night I was psyched to pull the bottle back out with dinner. I let it warm up to room temperature and poured my boyfriend and I each a glass. I was still munching when he went in for a sniff…. “Vanilla! No, BUTTERSCOTCH? Is it supposed to be like that?”, was the reaction my previously yummy wine elicited. And, NO. It was not supposed to be like that. It not only smelled exactly like a butterscotch candy, it tasted like it. We dumped the bottle and moved on (yea back up wines). The experience got me thinking… can a wine start out great/normal and then turn out to be flawed?
So I did some additional research… What I learned was the wine could have been affected with too much diacetyl. Sometimes this can be a good thing, as the wine takes on buttery, nutty or even caramel-ish tendencies. I don’t mind essence of caramel at all in my wine – either sniffing or sipping! What I find fascinating is that the mild caramel flavor I tasted on Thursday night could devolve SO dramatically so as to render the wine undrinkable by Saturday.
I’m going to continue my research on this phenomenon and recreate my experiment with another bottle. In the meantime, what’s your experience with flawed wine? Do you know something more about Diacetyl?