A couple of months ago I yanked a nice bottle of Chablis from its companions in my treehouse and placed it outside in the torturous conditions of an Arizona summer. Here are the temperature records for the two places:
(If you are wondering about that dip inside the treehouse around May 27, that’s when we turned the treehouse into a temporary storage for all the produce and meat for Abby and Brendan’s wedding party.)
I was going to leave it out all summer but after noticing the bulging cork I decided to have mercy. So Amy and I had a blind tasting experiment, using the same protocol as for my breathing experiments. We both easily identified the odd wine out. But I misidentified mine as the abused bottle. Here are my notes:
The middle one has a slightly dry acrid note, less fruit on the nose, more acid on the palate. Generally a lost of fruit and thinner, less interesting.
So I figured the middle one was the abused one. I was wrong. Of course, after the reveal, I started second guessing, and wrote the following notes (warning, this is no longer Science):
After experiment tried to find a flaw with the abused one. Maybe a slightly toasty funky note on the nose. Maybe a little flabby on the palate. Maybe a slightly sour milk note. And as I taste the wines more, I think the unabused wine has a little more spine and structure.
The abused wine is a little more viscous. More like yummy syrup than a complex structured juice.
This should all be taken with a grain of salt (oh no, yuk) given my prior expectation that heat would wreck a white Burgundy. I was thinking there would be some clear oxidation and discoloration. Maybe I should have left it all summer as originally planned. Tasting the abused wine again tonight (June 12), a day after the experiment, I agree with myself that it is o.k. but kind of nasty. I’m going to pour it down the drain just as soon as I have confirmation on that. Really I am.
The big takeaway is that this exposure to heat did not make the wine undrinkable. Although in this case the difference was much clearer than it was for my previous heat experiment.