Wine Talk

Snooth User: Inti

Leaving wine to settle after transport?

Posted by Inti, Mar 3, 2009.

I just received a selection of wine and am dying to try a bottle. I have always thought that you should leave any wine to settle for about 3 days after transport before drinking it.

It this true? How much would it impair the taste?

Does anybody out there know the answers?



Reply by cookypuss1, Mar 3, 2009.

Most say to let it settle at least a week, but two to be safe. If it's mid-range to expensive wine, I'd definitely adhere to this. If it's white wine, it might now be as affected.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Mar 3, 2009.

I am always skeptical about these wine superstitions. I received an old bottle of wine last Wednesday, by ground shipment, from California!. I couldn't resist and shared it with friends on Sunday night. It was fantastic. I've also had bottles that I had in my car for an hour taste terrible the day of transport but my general feeling is that for older wines once the wine has fell clear, ie all suspended sediment has dropped out of suspension, I think the wine is ready to go. Will it be better after another week, or month of rest. Perhaps but the difference probably is too slight to notice.

In a sort of odd twist I think younger wines suffer from more intense travel shock so the age of the wine can certainly play a role in it's performance.

What is the wine?

Reply by Philip James, Mar 3, 2009.

Inti - I've heard 2 weeks is ideal, but I've broken that rule many many times myself. Its hard to wait once something you ordered has just arrived. I often open at least one bottle the same night

Reply by fibo86, Mar 3, 2009.

Well Greg that actually makes sense I've tried a young bottle 4hrs after travel and it wasn't too good, also done the same with an older one and no problem including the fact the bottle got thrown (by accident) out of the car (cause it was wrapped in a cloth, the car was stable and the wine fell on the grass).
I really only ever thought that it was a 48hr rest. I too like Phillip can't help myself to keen to try.

Reply by Inti, Mar 3, 2009.

Thanks everyone. I bought a mixture of different wines for sampling to make my mind up which ones I would like to buy more of. I decided to try one of the cheaper ones first (just in case) and it was ok. It did not have to come from very far, so maybe that has helped. Anyway, I will resist temptation and leave the rest to settle.

Reply by MarioRobles, Mar 4, 2009.

in my experience it should be 3-4 days... there is definitely something 'strange' in the wine if you open the bottle just after a long trip... I am talking road trip...

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 6, 2009.

I happen to have just gotten a shipment of wine in which I have 6 bottles of the same wine.

Let's try it out. We'll open one bottle today, for Snooth Wine Friday, and we'll save another bottle for 2 weeks, and open it then. Stay tuned for our findings.

Reply by cookypuss1, Mar 6, 2009.

Nice, Mark! Will look forward to hearing the details of your experiment!

Reply by joss, Mar 7, 2009.

i agree with greg in that i believe once all the sediment has completely settled down, that wine should be ready to go. very old wines, such as anything over 20+ years, needs in my opinion quite a bit of time: at least 3-4 days. the wine director of a very renowned winery once told me "he's a very old man; he's tired and unsettled after his travels and needs to rest for quite a while..." in fact, for those aged wines, we'll take the bottle out of the cellar, and stand them upright for at least a day or two to let sediment settle at the bottom of the bottle. n those bottles haven't moved in years...
on the flip side, for young wines i've never really had any problem with young wines: no sediment! any difference seems entirely neglible IMO

Reply by MarioRobles, Mar 7, 2009.

Having worked for a wine producer for many years, we always found that the wine just before bottling was 'not the same' for a while after bottling... in that case, it needed a couple of months to really go back to the pre-bottling style...

My bet is that wines, particularly reds, agree with Joss, suffer from the sediment unsettling and need some time to 're-gain' balance...

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 9, 2009.

While the wines I ordered were not the best wines, and certainly contained no sediment, I have to say this might be a tough call. They were pretty good right after I received them, and I couldn't really tell what might have been off about them. The others tasted also enjoyed the selection. Still, we'll taste again in a few weeks.

Reply by ImpatientCollector, Oct 14, 2010.

It depends  upon the age and type of wine. Old reds esp unfiltered wines have lots of macro and micro sediment.  Drinking them early will deprive one of nuances.  I say old reds let them lie, label up for 3 months at correct cellar temp,ie 56-59 degrees;  newly released reds still have micro sediment from barrels and grapes, and could get by with only a couple weeks.  It depends upon ones palate, nose, and how good the wine really is;  jug wines are fined and filtered, and processed so much, you can drink them at any time.  Whites made unfined and unfiltered, if a few years old need a few weeks; whites in same year of release, less time needed.   It is hard to wait.

Mark E


Reply by dmcker, Oct 14, 2010.

Three months is excessive in my experience, though I agree, IC, that old reds demand tender care, attention and patience. I try never to underestimate the effects of bottle shock, which involves more than just a roiling of the sediment. 

Whatever the wine, white or red or fortified, newly released or aged, I try never to open any that haven't had at least a few (3-5) days rest at home, and in special cases (like the very old fine reds described above) considerably longer than that. I'm old-skool and still like to use candles in the cellar and it's not all that difficult to monitor the settling of the sediment once you learn how (and of course electric light can be used). In practice, special bottles end up staying months or more likey years in my cellar before I open them, since I don't buy such wine just before some event, but like to keep up a steady procurement program then work from within what I have that's aged how I want. But when I do have to buy for an event, or even just for weekly drinking at home, I never just buy at the store and bring them home and open immediately, but instead let them rest for at least half a week and often longer. Exceptions would include when on the road I pick up some bottles for a picnic, whether in winecountry or backcountry.



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