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Jim Grow

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Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jim Grow » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:42 pm

I get most of my wine thru the mail and usually set it aside for a few weeks before opening any but not always. If it is just a matter of disturbing the sediment then I could see the value of resting port or even unfiltered red wine. Given a few hours upright, this sediment should resettle and be fine for consumption then. Maybe I'm missing something else here? What is the general consensus on this issue and why?
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Rahsaan

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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Rahsaan » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:34 pm

Jim Grow wrote:I get most of my wine thru the mail and usually set it aside for a few weeks before opening any but not always. If it is just a matter of disturbing the sediment then I could see the value of resting port or even unfiltered red wine. Given a few hours upright, this sediment should resettle and be fine for consumption then. Maybe I'm missing something else here? What is the general consensus on this issue and why?


I don't think there is much 'scientific' evidence on the issue. But I usually err on the side of caution.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Robin Garr » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:40 pm

Rahsaan wrote:I don't think there is much 'scientific' evidence on the issue. But I usually err on the side of caution.

I haven't seen any rigorous science on it, either, but back when I had a job that took me traveling a lot - and bringing wines to offlines around the country - I built up a whole load of anecdotal evidence that wines fresh out of carry-on baggage (in those days of yore before 9/11) often didn't show well.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jenise » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:42 pm

Jim, a few decades ago I travelled often with my two primary holdings of pinot noir, Joseph Swan and St. Innocent. None were aged enough for worries about sediment, but thru repeated experiences with both I found that the Swans tended to not show well for a few days where the St. Innocents could be popped and poured on arrival. We had several experiences of opening and not liking the Swans, putting the cork in, waiting another three or four days and then finding the wine we knew it to have been all along--so we knew for a fact that the wine wasn't faulty, just temporarily confused.

So it's not neccessarily about sediment. Young wines experience shock too.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:30 pm

No
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jim Grow » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:02 pm

David.....you ramble on so! Thanks all for your input.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by John Treder » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:17 pm

Jenise, Swans aren't filtered or fined. Could be part of the difference.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jenise » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:26 pm

John Treder wrote:Jenise, Swans aren't filtered or fined. Could be part of the difference.


I realize that, and I think St. Innos are but don't know that for sure. 20 years ago, that seemed to be the difference.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Peter May » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:02 pm

Good question !

I don't know if it's proven, there's enough anecdotal buzz sso that 'travel shock' is a well known term. But is it just an excuse used by wine show pourers to deflect criticism?

Trade fairs show wines that have arrived the previous day from places thousands of miles away. If travel shock was serious would prestigious wineries not send their products in advance?

I have sliced open plastic wrapping on pallets of boxes of wines that have been shipped across the world and poured the wines the following morning.

But when I buy wines for myself I always rest them at home for a week or more before opening.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Rahsaan » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:06 pm

Peter May wrote:Trade fairs show wines that have arrived the previous day from places thousands of miles away. If travel shock was serious would prestigious wineries not send their products in advance?


Trade fairs are not exactly known as the best environments for understanding wine. And there are often various caveats about that at such events. But life is not perfect and there are logistical constraints.

And when it's a more focused event with a few special bottles, wineries do send the bottles ahead of time.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Steve Slatcher » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:55 am

I think the problem with this topic is that no one body currently has enough financial incentive to investigate it properly. But it is not difficult to imagine proper experiments that would go a long way to finding the answer(s).

Perhaps the solution is some sort of "citizen science" or "crowdsourced" project? Something organised centrally by people who understand science and statistics, and executed by volunteers who can be trusted to follow instructions. Essential elements would be 1) having wines that are as near identical as possible, 2) leaving some at home while sending the other half on a journey, and 3) double-blind comparisons.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jenise » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:10 pm

Jim, thought of this post while adding some wine to my inventory today on CT. Here are the last two reviews posted two days apart. Now not all reviewers are created equal, I know, but the lesser impression made on the second reviewer just might have something to do with the fact that he opened his the same day it arrived.

11/12/2017 - LITT12 LIKES THIS WINE: 94 Points
Fresh, mineral, balanced - terroir driven and one of the top producers in California Pinot Noir. Drinks lovely now and can’t wait to see how it develops over time.

11/10/2017 - T_MODERNE WROTE: 86 Points
This just arrived today and so it was a pop and pour. Ruby red color.
Nose of some dark berries and a little funk (wet wool sweater).
A little funky earthy note upon entry. Bright acidity. Some blackberries along with forest floor and some spice. More savory than sweet.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Oliver McCrum » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:33 pm

Yes, at least for ocean shipping (which is where my experience lies).

We taste newly arrived wines off each container we import. Sometimes they're fine, sometimes they are shadows of themselves; a few weeks usually fixes it. If they are affected, it's always the same problem, the 'flesh' recedes, leaving the 'bones' more evident.

I don't know why it happens, but I don't know anyone who regularly ships wine who doesn't believe think it's real.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Bill Spohn » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:37 pm

Interesting question.

Experiment. Open two bottles of the same wine from your cellar and taste a small aliquot to confirm that they are both showing the same. Stick a vacuum stopper in each and put one in the car and send significant other off with it with instructions to put 1,000 miles on it before returning. Should be back about the same time the next day. Retaste once temperature is the same and report back.

Comparing wine from a batch that came over six months earlier with what you just picked up in the store from a more recent shipment doesn't do it - they could well be from two different bottlings.

I am with those who are undecided but prefer to play it safe and avoid opening wine without letting it cellar a week or so first.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by David M. Bueker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:40 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Experiment. Open two bottles of the same wine from your cellar and taste a small aliquot to confirm that they are both showing the same. Stick a vacuum stopper in each and put one in the car and send significant other off with it with instructions to put 1,000 miles on it before returning. Should be back about the same time the next day. Retaste once temperature is the same and report back.


Significant other might come back with no wine and divorce papers. That would be some travel shock!
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jim Grow » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:43 pm

Hey Bill, you must have a very obedient "significant other"! but I like the theory
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Jenise » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:48 pm

Btw, the Wine Berserker board has a member famous for opening wine the day the box shows up. So much so that this act of premature anticipation is now known by his last name, Pobega. I see a post from Tom Hill below describing a wine he Pobega'd, so I guess we shall officially adopt this into our nomenclature.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Bill Spohn » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:57 pm

Jim Grow wrote:Hey Bill, you must have a very obedient "significant other"! but I like the theory


Well you'd have to come up with a great sale you could tell them about 500 miles away........and then sneak the bottle into the trunk!
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Ken Schechet » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:38 am

Yes, at least for ocean shipping (which is where my experience lies).


Oliver, you are probably quite right.

I was once told that hundreds of years ago England imported all their wine from France, which was a quick trip across the Channel. When relations between the two countries soured England sourced their wines from Spain and Portugal, but that was an ocean voyage and didn't work out very well. The wines arrived in such poor condition that they could not be drunk. Someone got the idea of fortifying the wine and, for whatever reason, that survived the ocean voyage much better. And, supposedly, that is why to this day the Brits drink Sherry and Port.

I have no idea if this is true but it's a good story and it should be true.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Peter May » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:45 am

Ken Schechet wrote:


I have no idea if this is true but it's a good story and it should be true.


Basically true. But remember that the wine was shipped in barrel* then.

Also, for Brits read English as the Scots weren't at war with Framce and continued to import claret, and quite a bit was smuggled across the border.

a couple more to add to the story:

*known as tuns, thus the capacity of a ship at Bordeaux was measured in tuns or tunnage being the amount of barrels it was capable of carrying.

In the grand houses the contents of the barrel were then bottled, an important job, and thus the position of chief of staff in a big house became the butler.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Patchen Markell » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:58 pm

I thought "butler" had to do not only with bottles but also with the barrels -- I think there's two butts in a tun, right? (And, of course, don't try pinching the butler's butt, or there'll be some puncheon.)
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Bill Spohn » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:09 pm

Patchen Markell wrote:I thought "butler" had to do not only with bottles but also with the barrels -- I think there's two butts in a tun, right? (And, of course, don't try pinching the butler's butt, or there'll be some puncheon.)


No chance of 'staving' off bad humour here, is there? Caught you firkin around again, Patchen.

:twisted:
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Patchen Markell » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:48 pm

You could try to stop me, but I'm pretty hogs-headed.
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Re: Is travel shock a proven detriment to wine?

by Victorwine » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:41 am

As far as the travel shock phenomenon goes, just "put it in your pipe and smoke it". :D :

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