Are some wines more or less sensitive to bottle shocks than others?
Dear Dr Vinny,
When travelling, are some wines more or less sensitive to bottle shocks than others?
—Paul, Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif.
“Bottle shock”, also known as “bottle sickness” or “travel shock”, is a term used to describe the phenomenon whereby recently bottled wines or recently shaken bottles of wine (such as those that have have been recently shipped) have an attenuated or disjointed taste. It’s one of those things about wine that doesn’t have a clear explanation, but there’s anecdotal evidence from many wine lovers (including yours) that a bottle of wine isn’t all alike. quite after a long journey. Much like human jet lag, a wine can feel flat and tired for a while after traveling.
There is still no scientific explanation for this phenomenon, so any advice is based on anecdotal evidence only, but fragile, older wines seem more susceptible to this condition, and younger, more robust wines less so. White wines also seem less affected than red wines. But no matter the color, style, or age of a wine, it’s a good idea to give a bottle at least a few days, if not weeks, to rest in a cool, dark, sheltered place. light and temperature fluctuations after travel.