TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



Cork, wine faults and missed chances

Posted by Torsten 13 Jul 2009

It does not happen often, but it always leaves me a little sad when it happens. You open what promises to be a nice bottle of wine and then you realise that something has gone terribly wrong. Today it was a 2008 Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from Keller - it should have been a nice and jolly food companion, perhaps creamy with hazelnut, and just pleasant to drink. What came out of the bottle is still causing pain to my palate.

It started with a smell of smoke - not unpleasant, actually quite tempting and unusual. Lots of bubbles in the glass and the wine not as clear as it could have been. And then a bitter taste of smoke, burned wood, sharp, almost acidic bad feet and nothing pleasant about it. Most wines I have come across that had cork did have something pleasant, some hint of character below the nasty taste (often wet cardboard). Here: nothing. It is like something very bad had creped into the bottle and killed the wine, destroyed every memory of it.

There was only this one bottle and now I might never know. It is a shame.

If you want to know more about corked wine and other wine faults, try these two sites:
http://www.thewinedoctor.com/advisory/tastefaulty.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_fault

Been there...

Yes, it's that sinking feeling when a bottle of wine has let you down. But there's also the nagging whether you do or do not have one of the less severe cases of cork: Is this a faulty bottle or is the wine just not as good as I had hoped for?


getting better at it

Luckily, or perhaps sadly, there was not much to doubt here - I simply cannot imagine that Keller, or anyone, really, could make a wine taste so dreadful. In that sense it was an easy case. As you say, it is much harder if you are just not sure, when you want to be fair to a wine you have never tasted before. Sadly, I do not have a simple answer. Even screw caps do not help if the wine has been stored badly. So the only way forward seems to drink more and get better at it (spotting faulty wine, not the drinking I mean, or do I?).


oops I did it again

This time it was one of the few surviving 2007 great growths by Haart (Piesporter Goldtröpfchen 2007, großes Gewächs). There was a lovely hint of herbs, but smoky bacon and more smoky bitterness killing everything that could have been delightful is certainly not what the winemaker intended... A shame, real shame.