Thursday, November 23, 2006


Can you rehabilitate a bottle of wine that has gotten a little tainted by mold/mildew/general stank?

I've done some cursory Googling on the subject but I'm not finding anything that answers my question. So I'll just tell you my story and you can tell me yours and we can rejoice in the wonders of blogs and community journalism.

The night after I popped open my positively reviewed bottle of Blackstone Pinot Noir, I poured myself another glass of the stuff and right away knew that something was wrong. It smelled kinda funky, kinda mildewy or moldy or something — wet and murky and gross. I sniffed the cork (it's a real cork, not rubber or whatever those newfangled whippersnapper winemakers use these days) and sure enough it smelled a little on the ass-y side. I sniffed the bottle and it smelled the same. I tried to drink the glass of ass wine and it tasted grody. Completely unlike the night before, when it had been understated and lovely. I was upset — as upset as one can be over a $10 bottle of wine — and poured out the remaining third of the glass after I could gulp down no more.

But, not feeling cheeky enough to throw out the rest of the bottle (about half), I just let the thing sit on my counter, corkless. This morning I got the bright idea to cover it up somehow without using the nasty-ass cork. Being completely ignorant of the myriad complicated chemical reactions involving air required to make a bottle of wine taste good, I figured I'd just improvise using found objects and cover up the damn thing so at least flies wouldn't get in it. So I got a sandwich baggie and placed it loosely over the bottle, leaving a bubble of air at the top in case the thing needed to expand for whatever ridiculous reason, and I snapped a thin (hair) rubber band around the baggie at the neck a couple of times.

Tonight I came home from work and polished of the remaining Zin and, not wanting to dip into my Thanksgiving arsenal but still wanting to celebrate another successful day of not killing people at work, I took the baggie off the bottle and took a sniff.

And you know what? That shit smelled normal again. I took the baggie off and poured a glass and the wine tastes virtually the same as it did the day I popped the rotten cork, before the rot made its way to the wine.

So I don't know if this technique could work for any or all types of wine (I doubt it strongly, despite my general ignorance), but it seems to have worked in this case.

Anybody got the goods on the science? I'd sure like to know.


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