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Why were my wines bad?

Peter D. Meltzer
Posted: April 20, 2011

Q: I recently opened 2 bottles of carefully stored 1989 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. The shoulder levels were high and the color was fine with no browning on the edges. One cork was fine, but the other was a bit dry. Both bottles, however, smelled awful and tasted very off—very disappointing! Any thoughts on what this might have been? —John

A: When you say the wines were "carefully stored," do you mean in a temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility? If not, temperature variation may have been the cause. Next, have you owned these wines since release, or did you purchase them later? If the latter, have you any idea how and where they were stored beforehand? In other words, the wines may have been subjected to improper storage prior to your acquiring them. Either way, this is an unfortunate case of bottle variation.

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