I think I might have ruined 350 bottles of my Merlot when I stored it in a wine locker and the odor and taste changed. What do you think happened?
Chris Ferrari — San Jose, California asks,
One of my favorite batches is a 2002 Merlot, which was naturally fermented (no added sugars or yeast), aged in an oak barrel for 10 months or so, stored in stainless kegs for six months, then filtered, polished and bottled in early 2004. I would pass out bottles to everyone, boasting of my winemaking skills, and everyone was very complimentary of the taste. Since I had 350 bottles of my Merlot in the garage, I thought storing the wine in an ideal wine locker (55 °F or 13 °C with 70% humidity) would preserve it. Unfortunately, after several months of storage, the wine has a different odor and taste, not to my liking. Did I just ruin my Merlot? Can this be bottle shock? I’m thinking I should have just left the wine in my garage. Is it possible this may be part of the aging process? Please help. I’m in the process of building a temperature-controlled wine cellar, but this experience is making me second-guess my intentions.