Wine Diarist

How to tell if wine is heat damaged? 3 Ways To Find Out!

We all deserve to drink good wine, and here is how you spot those bad bottles from a mile away.

To ensure that you are always buying, serving, or aging a good bottle, it is essential to check for any wine flaws or problems. At least half of the wine drinkers have experienced a bad glass of wine once in their lifetime but did not voice it. However, when a wine is spoiled, you cannot even take another sip of that beverage.

Just like we use our senses when tasting and appreciating wine, we have to use them when trying to look for flaws. Here are some clues that will guide you and ensure that you spot a problematic wine way before buying or opening it.

How does the wine look?

When looking at the wine, you are investigating the color. If wine changes color quickly after buying it, there is a problem. When aging wine, it can obviously change color but a drastic change will raise a red flag. When aging wines, the white wines darken over the years, and the red wines turn into a brick color.

 If your wine suddenly becomes cloudy or opaque, you should be concerned. As a wine drinker, you probably know the natural colors that wine comes in. If the wine looks brown or black, it is perhaps best to leave it at the store. When looking at your wine, also check for physical signs. It may be a problem if the cork on your wine is bulging or coming out. If your wine is warm or hot, this is also an issue.

When buying wine at a store, also look at the storage conditions. If the wine is stored in a very hot place, it is highly likely that it will not be the best quality. If the wine is stored in a place with direct sunlight, that is also a problem. The way a shop stores their wine will tell you a lot. You can avoid problems by buying wine that is kept in a cool, dry, not too bright place.

How does it smell?

It is hard to note some wine flaws by looking at it in some instances. Therefore, it is important to pour it into a glass and smell it. A bad wine will smell so badly. Some people have described the smells from tainted wine as a wet dog, socks, vinegar, nail polish remover, cabbage, moldy houses, or wet newspapers. In this case, probably the wine was exposed to air, heat, light, movements, or even bacteria. If your wine smells terrible, it is perhaps spoilt. In some instances, a wine may get “cork taint,” where the cork comes into contact with chemicals when still in the tree. These corks affect the taste of the wine. When wine is “corked,” it mutes your senses and affects your smelling ability, and the wine can taste blank/ plain. It suppresses your sense of smell. Smell the inside of the cork when you open the wine. If the wine is tainted, the cork will have an unpleasant smell.

How does it taste?

If you have looked at and smelt the wine and still feel that perhaps, a sip is necessary, you can check for any problems. While sipping a lousy wine will not be dangerous for you, you should not gulp it at first. The first time you sip a drink, your tongue is able o pick up so much. If you are checking for wine flaws, we assume that you have drunk lots of wine in the past and know what wine tastes like. If your wine is sour and has very new sharp flavors, that should raise concern.

Another wine issue is oxidization. In this case, the wine will get exposed to air if the cork is not tight. Since the cork was once a tree bark, it was a living thing and may shrink or expand over time. Sometimes, air can pass in or out between the cork and neck of the bottle. When you leave the wine on the glass for too long when exposed to air, it changes color. The white wines turn darker, and the red wines look browner. This is the same thing that may happen to your beverage when in the bottle. Oxidized wines have a vinegar taste.

Therefore, if you cannot smell a wine, there might be a problem. To some people, it may cause the wine to smell moldy. Only wines with a cork have this issue, and wines with synthetic caps and screw caps cannot get corked.

What to do when you get a bad bottle of wine.

Since we have shared a guide on how to spot bad wine, we also need to tell you what you can do when it happens.

If you are at a wine store, contact the shop attendant. For example, if you notice wine whose cork is bulging or cloudy wine, mention it to the staff. This will ensure that it helps the next unsuspecting customer. If the shop values quality, they will appreciate it.

If you are hosting a wine dinner, mention that the wine is damaged to your guest(s). It can be a light moment and say that it happens to the best of us. Some guests will appreciate the honesty and eye for quality. Find a replacement and proceed.

If you find damaged wine in your home collection, try and find out the cause. Could it be because of how you stored it? Count your losses and check visually if your other wines are okay.

Be careful about how you store your wine after opening it at home. When consuming wine at home, it is not always that you will drink more than one or two glasses. You must store the rest of the wine nicely. Put the cork/ cap back on and store it in the fridge. You can also get a wine suction stopper that helps you suck all the air out.

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