Bottle shock

“Bottle shock”: myth or reality?

Also called bottle sickness, bottle shock is supposed effect on wine inflicted by shipping.

There are no definitive studies on what shipping does to wine, but unless you buy and drink at the winery, all wines are shipped. Your prized Burgundy, your awesome Aussie shiraz, your memorable Argentine malbec, even your High Plains tempranillo from Lubbock spent time in a cargo container, a warehouse, and/or a delivery truck.

Theory: jostling and temperature extremes in transit can’t be good. There is proof that extended jostling and temperature fluctuations hurt wine, but what about a day in the UPS truck or distributor pipeline?

As you might expect, local retail wine stores warn shipped wine arrives whipped and wanting.

As you might expect, on-line stores and wineries aver their bottles always arrive shipshape and deliciously drinkable.

There is anecdotal evidence wine tastes better if you let it relax after the people in green have you autograph the adult-must-sign-for package.

Also consider when shipping occurs. Some wineries will not ship in high summer, aware it cannot be a good thing for their precious creations to simmer on a tarmac or cook in an idling delivery truck. Makes sense, especially if you invested in a custom wine cellar or wine refrigerator.

Experts who opine on this subject generally agree that, except in the most horrid of cases, your wine should be fine after two weeks of convalescence. Wine is a living thing, and it is resilient.

Wine prefers cool and steady. If it is shipped, give it some time to relax and get to know you before you plunge into its pleasures.

Tasting notes:
• Block 50 Shiraz Central Ranges 2007. Smooth, plenty of plum, spice, fruit; tame tannins; oaky, medium weight; Aussie shiraz value pour. $9
• Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (10% carmenere). Bright cherry, plum, toasty oak; smooth tannins, medium body, big value from Chile’s big producer. $10
• Arroba Winery @ Edna Valley Pinot Noir 2008. Raspberry, cherry, cranberry; toasty oak, sweet vanilla; bright, feminine, spot on value. $18

Last round: They should put more wine in a bottle. You know, so there is enough for two people.