It was a Saturday night. I made some great spicy pasta that took considerable effort because a good friend was visiting. I opened the bottle and noticed about two-thirds of the cork had wine stain a good 50 percent up the cork.

I thought: “Ah-Oh”

Unfortunately, I was right. I decided during the day I hadn’t opened a bottle of really special wine in a some time – Christmas, actually! So I thought I’d open a bottle of 1995 Italian Brunello. I poured some wine into a glass and let it set. I tasted it, and it has a nasty – almost chemical like – taste.

Typically a “corked” wine, where the cork has failed and oxidation occurs, smells and tastes like vinegar. I once had a friend say it tasted like cider. Either way, that’s bad.

This was different. This bottle had a nasty and dry chemical taste. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but it was clearly a bad bottle of wine and I had to pour it out.

Now, grab a Kleenex! If you don’t know, Brunello is one of the big Tuscan wines of Italy. Brunello is expensive. Most of my wine buys and writing is about wines under $20-$25. But I do buy a little upper end wine.

I’ve had this bottle for awhile and it cost me, as I recall, about $55. I had had this particular Brunello before and remember the smoky tobacco and leather flavor with great detail. It was recommended by a wine merchant and was wonderful when I tried it so I bought another bottle.

I had taken great care of this wine, or so I thought. I have a 12 bottle wine storage system with temperature control and it’s obviously dark. The wine could have been bad when I bought it 3-4 years ago. I don’t know.

I guess the point is be careful with your wine. Store it between 55 and 65 degrees in a dark area and you’ll probably be all right!

There is nothing more painful than pouring a $55 bottle of wine down the sink!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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