I bet you thought the title was referring to the recently released movie that retells the story of the great 1976 wine standoff between France & Napa. Although the story is a very interesting one and I hear the movie was entertaining as well, that is not what I am writing about tonight. Sadly I have not seen it yet, but I do hope to catch it at some point.
What I am writing about is a phenomena that happens to wine. I enjoyed the description from the David Girard Vineyards website:
“Bottle shock is real. It is also a fairly simple concept. Wines, like people do not necessarily travel well. That’s true even if the trip is only for the short distance from barrel to bottle. You might think of it as analogous to travelers who get out of their car after a drive from Sacramento to Los Angeles. All of their parts are still there when they arrive. Nevertheless, they may need a while to stop feeling the vibration of the road. They may need to straighten out their clothes. They may need to look in a mirror to attend to the finer details.”
So as I understand it there are two variations on bottle shock. The first is the shock the wine goes into when first bottled (or as referred to above when transferred from barrel to bottle). And the second is the shock wine experiences when it goes on long journeys – especially those taken via plane across continents.
Those of you who read my post from last night know I attended the “Kosherfest” food & wine convention today. I am writing about “bottle shock” as I tried a few wines from a very well regarded purveyor of Israeli wines today with some wine aficionados. I am quite familiar with most of this winery’s wines, and smelled a wine that one of the aforementioned aficionados said was corked. I was sure that the wine was not corked, but he was right, it was definitely OFF. The three of us then tried yet another wine and sure enough this too was “off”. I am proud to say that yours truly theorized that the wines were not corked but actually suffering from travel sickness AKA bottle shock. I spoke with a winery rep who confirmed that the wines were all flown in from Israel and arrived just a day or two prior to the event. We all then agreed that many of the wines that seemed off must have been suffering from bottle shock.
While I thought you might enjoy hearing that this phenomena actually does exist and is real I must admit that I am a bit embarrassed to be writing about it given how highly I speak of Israeli wines. That said, the wines are all excellent, it is the judgement of those who decided to fly the wines in the night before that should be brought into question.
Happy SHOCKLESS wine tasting!