True story: about ten years ago, we picked up a bottle of the '94 I believe while staying with friends in Portland. We opened it there, and it was a hard, tannic, black thing unlike anything we knew as pinot. We corked it, stuck it in the bottom of a suitcase, forgot about it, and continued our travels. Temperatures were in the high 90's everywhere we went and that suitcase sat in hot cars. When we unpacked the bottle, we were of course horrified. Figured the wine would justiafiably have been a total goner. WRONG. Instead, it was almost ready to drink. The tannins were still grippy but the rest of it had morphed into a rather attractive imitation cabernet.
Then a few years later Evesham Wood winemaker Russ Rainey opened an early 80's Freedom Hill made (but never sold commercially) by Bethel Heights. Same story.
So I laughed out loud at you mentioned lamb or prime rib. I know exactly what you mean by that, and my limited experience is they're all like that and even more so in warm years like 02. I'm not a fan.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov