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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Neither my husband or I are big wine drinkers, but over the years have been given wine gifts. The bottles have been stored on their sides in a wine rack with little attention to temperature. Our house has an average temperature of 60 degrees, and the wines have an average age of 4 to 10 years. The question is, how do I know if the wine is still OK to serve guests without opening them?
—Doris D., Tallahassee, Fla.
You have no idea how much I wish I had a superpower to look at a bottle of wine and tell you whether or not it’s tasting well and if you’d like it, but there is just no way to tell without opening it. But don’t feel bad—it’s always a gamble how a wine is going to show when you open it, even if you’re familiar with the wine and have stored it well.
It’s OK to open these bottles for your guests. Just tell them, “I’ve been meaning to open this bottle that I got as a gift for a while now. Let’s see what we think!” If it’s not well received, you can always open another bottle. Or, you could make it an occasion, and invite your guests to bring over wines they’re also curious about for a “let’s all see what we have in our wine racks” tasting. Who knows? You might find some gems.
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.