Wine Talk

Snooth User: vinofreak12

Question about a Shiraz.... Please help

Posted by vinofreak12, Jun 7, 2009.

I bought a 2001 vintage Shiraz, Heavens Gate, 2 weeks ago. I opened it the night I got it and the wine was pretty much tight. There was not much on the nose and or the pallet. It was quite meaty oriented with what pallet it had. I vacu-sealed it and put it in my wine cellar. Just the other night I pulled it out popped the seal heard the great, pthhhhh sound when you know your seal works, and poured a glass.... Well here is the question. I dont remember it being hazy cloudy but it was. Can this happen after a wine has been opened can it become super cloudy.

The nose was amazing though.... If you like mesquite bbq sauce, V8 juice, and a wood burning stove component this is for you.... as long as I have not been drinking a wine that has gone bad.

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Reply by h2w4, Jun 8, 2009.

Once a wine is opened it can easliy become cloudy. If there was any residual sugar and/or malic acid it can start fermenting from any number of yeast and/or bacteria that the wine may have come into contact with, even if it was only open for a few minutes. If there was any temperature variation (especially warm temps) then you could also get the cloudiness from protein denaturation. It's not going to kill you or anything, but it would be different from how the wine was intended to be made.

Reply by dmcker, Jun 8, 2009.

When you talk about a BBQ sauce aroma/flavor, does this include an element of vinegar? That would be another indicator of negative effects from the contact with oxygen, however brief. V-8 tomatoey acid effects are questionable, too. And I would think that the ashy/smokey stove aroma/flavor is also not a particularly positive sign. Sounds like you have the basis for a good marinating sauce, though! ;-)

I've never tried to keep a wine for two weeks after opening then vacuuvin-sealing it. Did you store the wine standing, or on its side? If on its side, contact with the rubber stopper won't help, either...

Reply by Hugo Sauaia, Jun 8, 2009.

I believe it´s definitely a very bad idea to keep a wine open for this long. Even portos or other partially oxidized wines will suffer too much. Taste and aromas will be compromised. The lack of smells should be related to some deffect in this particular wine and if a few hours decanting do not help it, u better throw it away. Seeya.

Reply by Doctor Bob, Jun 18, 2009.

Another thought, before storage displace with oxygen with nitrogren. This might slow down deterioration

Reply by GregT, Jun 18, 2009.

Did you like it?

If I'm not going to drink it, I put it into a small bottle with no air space and seal it. Those nitrogen sealers seem like a good idea too, but I don't know.

Incidentally, how many cases did you buy if there wasn't much on the pallet?

Pallet =

1. a kind of mattress or bed, usually filled with straw.
2. a wooden tool with a flat blade and a handle that potters use for smoothing and rounding clay pots.
3. a brush used for applying gold leaf
4. something to stack objects on for moving, often made of wood and moved with a fork lift. Check out this site if you want to buy some -


Reply by Doctor Bob, Jun 18, 2009.

I forgot about your excellent hint. I always keep a clean half bottle around. When I have left over wine Red or White I pour it into the half size. Less oxigen less deterioration. The Nitrogen comes as a spray aersol. I just give the upper layer a spritz of LN2.

Reply by dwgray, Jun 18, 2009.

Vacu vin is good to hold wines a day or two, if you are going to store longer, I would look for Nitrogen or Argon gas systems.

Reply by dmcker, Jun 19, 2009.

Even with use of the inert gas, you shouldn't keep the wine all that long after it's been opened. Drink it up as quickly as you can, certainly within a very few days. It will only proceed to change, and ultimately deteriorate, once the oxygen hits it--even when the oxygen is displaced shortly afterwards by whatever other gas.

Reply by vinofreak12, Jul 30, 2009.

I think that I have drawn a conclusion about this vintage and it is coming from a different bottle. I am currently drinking a Penfolds 2001 Limited reserve Shiraz. This bottle of wine has been opened for 4 days now and I am the tale end of the wine. It does not taste anything like vinegar but it clearly tastes like a great barbecue. I believe that since both were from Austrailia and a 2001 vintage then this might be a commanality between the terrior and the weather of this year. Excellent I think you shiraz lovers may like it

Reply by dmcker, Jul 31, 2009.

Not sure about the 'terroir' aspect since my understanding is that Heaven's Gate is from the Barossa Valley and the 2001 Penfolds Winemaker's Reserve Limited Release Shiraz is from Coonawarra (which is better known for its cabs, and is considered the closest Aussie growing environment to Bordeaux's). Barossa is one of the oldest winegrowing areas in the country, but has something like 30 different soil types in an area less than half the size of Bordeaux (which has something like six soil types). The two regions don't adjoin each other like even Napa and Sonoma, and are quite apart both geographically and stylistically, so the terroir comparison doesn't seem to make much sense.

Could, however, be commonality between a) vintage (since both are in South Australia, even if a little ways apart), b) winemaker approaches, and c) oxidation profile for shiraz wine, though would need more information to focus more clearly.

Reply by GregT, Jul 31, 2009.

Or it could be the fact that both wines were opened for days before final notes . . .

Vinofreak - you gotta drink up faster! Invite some friends over to help out. If you're in the New York area, I can think of plenty of people who'd give you a hand.


Reply by Doctor Bob, Jul 31, 2009.

I live in New York.
Add my name to the invite list.
No bottle of open wine will last for four days in my house

Reply by dmcker, Jul 31, 2009.

GregT, note my "c) oxidation profile" option. There's definitely gotta be a lot of that going on if the wine tastes like BBQ sauce! Not my favorite 'flavor profile', even for hot Barossa Valley Shiraz, and by that point I'd rather use the stuff to marinate and baste with, rather than to drink. Option C was actually my first vote, though the winemaker may also be playing a role since Penfolds, even if sourcing grapes from Coonawarra and its maritime climate, is based in Barossa with its hotter, inland valley climate, tradition and mindset.

Vinofreak, four days is better than 2 weeks, but it is, still, too long. Find someone to share with, or drink a little faster--you'lll find very different qualities in your wine!


Reply by penguinoid, Aug 1, 2009.

I'm going to try out the method of decanting half the wine into a half bottle upon opening. Hopefully that half should keep until the next day in the fridge. I haven't got a vacuseal wossname yet, so it may not be as effective as I'm hoping. I'll have to see.

The wine I got in a half bottle was Wirra Wirra 2007 Church Block Cabernet sauvignon/shiraz/merlot (McLaren Vale), which is nice enough to justify buying the bottle just on its own... Weirdly, it's about the cheapest thing I could find in a half bottle ($11.99).


Reply by GregT, Aug 1, 2009.

dumcker - oxidation is also an option for sure. I just poured some wine down the sink - it had been open for a couple weeks in the back of the fridge and I needed the space.

penguinoid - cool name incidentally. Have a clean half bottle - I rinse them and set upright for a while before opening the other one just because we have ants sometimes and I don't want them or cobwebs in the bottles. Anyhow, pour in as gently as possible and as full as possible and then jam the cork or stopper back in and put in the fridge. I've kept wine for a long time in that way - over a month.

Vinofreak - the 2001 was in general a fairly good vintage in most places down there as far as I know, and you have some decent wines - they're quite different IMO however. Penfolds tends to be a more structured wine than some at almost all levels but they're a good producer to explore. The "bin" wines in particular offer some pretty good quality - e.g. Bin 389, 407 etc. The cellar reserve line is from a different region - Adelaide I think? But those are pretty decent wines and something to trot out when people make broad comments about "all" Australian wines.


Reply by penguinoid, Aug 4, 2009.

GregT - Thanks ;-). I'm only planning to keep wine like this for at most two, maybe three days. Good to hear it does last. I'm guessing red wines would stand up to this for longer than white wines -- you had any experience with this?

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 4, 2009.

Different Greg but I was literally just was discussing this.

It's tough to make a hard and fast rule since both tannin, primarily for reds, and acid, primarily for white serve as anti-oxidants. In general the acid seems to be more resistant to oxidation, making whites more structurally durable.

However I find that the subtle and fresh flavors in whites are more susceptible to decay.

When an earthy, leathery red, for example, turns earthier and leatherier it's not a big issue and might actually be perceived as an improvement. With whites on the other hand one is more likely to see fresh fruit flavors turn nutty and dried. For most folks that is definitely not an improvement.

As tough as it is to generalize I would say that reds generally last 50% longer or more than whites.

Reply by GregT, Aug 4, 2009.

In general I agree with Greg until the last sentence. But let me explain why.

I keep a lot of wines this way particularly since I often have six to ten open at once. And as Greg said, they're all over the map in terms of how they hold up. That's really the only certain thing I can say.

After that, what I've found is that the younger reds seem to fare worst, so drink those fast. The wines that have a little bit of age on them, esp if they're a bigger type of wine that has spent a lot of time in barrel, seem to be OK. I don't know the science behind it or if I'm even correct, but my guess is that since they've already had some slight oxidation anyway via the barrels, they're less likely to go thru a major change very quickly. On the other hand, the younger fruitier ones that may have had little or no barrel time will react to the oxygen faster because it's a new thing for them. Those wines really crap out for me.

For example, my wife "found" a half bottle in the fridge and decided to pour herself a glass because she hated what I was drinking. She said "Wow. Whatever's in that half bottle is really good". It was a 2000 Rioja reserva that I had put in there about three weeks earlier. Of course it had seen a lot of barrel time anyhow, so maybe that mattered. Again, I really don't know for sure but I'm increasingly suspecting that as one reason.

As far as the big, earthy funky reds, that's an interesting observation. Most of those smells and aromas come from various sulfur compounds. Depending on exactly what they are, they may bind with oxygen and decrease in volatility - this is what happens when people say that an aroma "blows off" - it doesn't really, it's just that when the molecule isn't as volatile we don't perceive it. And when it combines with oxygen or something, it becomes heavier and we think it went away. On the other hand, other compounds may split and then your wine becomes more earthy and leathery. Part of it has to do with the specific aromatic profile because those words are pretty inexact. I need to do some more research but I bet it also has a lot to do with the type of grape or grapes in the blend. Not 100% certain though.

As far as whites - it's true that they can oxidize which turns their freshness into something more nutty. That's what happens over time as the whites turn brown. But for many whites that have high acidity and that are fairly lean to start, I've found that those hold up best. If I have three bottles open, I'll drink the reds and get to the whites in a couple of days because for some reason I'm finding that those seem to be OK. So for me, I find that the whites hold up longer than the reds, but 1) that's on average, i.e. both young and old reds whereas the older reds seem to be more hardy; and 2)again, it may simply be a function of the whites I'm talking about, which tend to be Spanish. I don't have a lot of experience with many other whites because I usually just drink them.

Greg actually has a perfect laboratory for doing a little research on this because he always has something open around the office and whereas I'm probably going to have Spanish wine, he's got stuff from all over. So I can't say much about other whites, etc.

However, it's fairly established that temperature matters most. Oxygen is going to react with anything pretty much - it's why things rust, etc. But cold slows the reactions down. So whatever you do, you'll get the wine to hold up better if it's in the cold fridge than if you put it into your wine cooler and better in there than out on the kitchen counter.

One final caveat - if you have something that is really massive, tannic, and young, you might actually want to leave that out on the counter for a day. But that's a different issue. It's not the same as aging the wine, but it may help open it.

So I don't know the science but that's my 2 cents.

Reply by George Parkinson, Aug 4, 2009.

Sounds like you have had some microbile infection in the wine caused by the new seal.

The cloudy nature that was not present before would tell you this at first sight and the nose description is second. As a wine professional I highly disagree with anyone who espouses the use of the vacu-vin.(sorry, no offense meant) I recommend to anyone reading to this to throw them away.

First they blow off the nose so by the second half of the bottle there are little or no phenolics to enhance the experience, second, and this happened to you, you may have used the seal on another wine, didn't clean the seal with SO2, which is the only thing that might kill the infection, there was probably a "bug" left on the seal that you unknowingly put in contact with the juice.

The best way to preserve the wine once opened is to refridgerate standing up. that is a vacuus environment and nothing will happen to the juice when left standing, sealed with the original closure, in a dark cold environment. I would grab another bottle at the market, I always buy 2 anyway, and try it again.

on another note, oxidation happens to every wine at a different rate. The level of free SO2 will keep some wines more tightly wound than others and this is all due to the fruit type, acid level, tanin structure from any contact with the skins and cellular walls of the berries. older vs younger really makes little difference.

Present day wines are made to consume immediately upon release more than the wines of 15 - 25 years ago so an older wine may indeed stand up to oxygen once opened for a time longer than their younger counterparts, this is specific to the "vignon, region, vintage and varietal.

Reply by GregT, Aug 4, 2009.

I partly agree but not entirely.

Not sure how a vacu-vin blows off phenolics.


"The best way to preserve the wine once opened is to refridgerate standing up. that is a vacuus environment and nothing will happen to the juice when left standing, sealed with the original closure, in a dark cold environment."

Half the bottle is poured out, so it's an air environment, not a vacuum.

I haven't decided yet whether it's better to use the pump or not, although I'm skeptical, but those little rubber stoppers are perfect IMO - they're much easier to put in and out than corks. I reuse them frequently. Washed between uses.

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