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#327849 - 06-06-2007 15:12:38 Traveling Shock...Another Data Point....(long/boring)
TomHill Online   content
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Registered: 02-15-2004 17:42:19
Posts: 10723
Loc: LosAlamos
So spaketh young Oliver on the subject last week:

Originally Posted By: Oliver McCrum
Tom,
I certainly won't debate the science with you, ahem, but shipping shock is very real from the
importer's perspective. I taste all the new wines off a container; some of them taste just the
way they did in Italy, some taste 'shocked'*, but a month later all of the wines taste about the
way they did in Italy. Sometimes the difference is dramatic.
* and the difference is consistent; much less aroma, much less fruit on the palate, making the
wines hollow. I believe this is the same difference one sees with bottling shock.

Originally Posted By: Oliver McCrum
Tom,
Empirical, rather than anecdotal; and repeatable, which I know is something you science types
like. Every time a container comes in there are wines that taste less interesting, and usually
it's at least half the wines that are affected. And yes, of course one can compare it with
previous shipments. We do this all the time.
I don't know anyone who has the opportunity to make such comparisons regularly who doesn't agree
that shipping shock is real (which doesn't make it true, of course, but still...). It's a pain;
I have all this money invested in a wine and I have to stare at it for weeks until it shows its
stuff.
I'm sure you agree that the absence of an explanation for a phenomenon doesn't demonstrate the
non-existence of that phenomenon. Otherwise your work would be very dull, I think.
I should add that I ship in reefers, so changes in temperature are very much reduced. And that
I am only referring to the kind of shipping I do, as it's the only experience I have.


So.....my latest stash of EdmundsStJohn arrived Monday afternoon. As I am wont to do...I cannot resist the siren song of these little btls whispering to me.."Drink me..no..drink me".
So...I pull out the TablasCreekVnyd Roussanne '04 to drink last night. Then...all of a sudden..the bells go on and the lights clang...I can put ol' Oliver to the test here.
So...I stick one fresh off the boat in my fridge and then go and retrieve one from the stash I got late last year & fridge it as well.
So, after fencing class, I crack open both:

1. EdmundsStJohn TablasCreekVnyd/PasoRobles Roussanne (14.5%; http://www.EdmundsStJohn.com) 2004: $33.00
_______________________
I mark one btl "N" for "new" and onb btl "O" for "old" in tiny letters in back, shuffle the btls around a bit so they're blind, and pour a glass from each btl and go to work:

Left: Light gold color, strong perfumed/floral/honeysuckle/Rouss slight smoky/chalky/minerally lovely nose; rich/ripe/lush tart quite floral/honeysuckle/Rouss some minerally/chalky lovely flavor; very long lush/ripe tart classic/Rouss/floral/honeysuckle slight minerally/chalky finish; a classic Calif Roussanne w/ richness and great acidity/balance

Right: Same light gold color; slightly less floral/aromatic/perfumed bit more chalky almost a slight floral/Viognier nose; tarter/leaner less lush/ripe/rich bit more chalky slight floral/Viog-like rather tight flavor; does not have quite the richness & lushness of the Left; a bit tighter and slightly hollow version of the left; the Right just doesn't quite sing like the Left.
______________________________________
Profundities from TheBloodyPulpit:
By Oliver's remarks, one would conclude the Right glass was fresh off the boat.
And the result from the back label...TaDa..

Left: Old
Right: New

So maybe Oliver was right, after all. There is a travel shock.

ButButBut...wait....this is a badly flawed experiment:
1. I did not account for btl variation. I should have opened up 5-6 btls of each sample and done the same comparison. If I'd gotten the same result, then, and only then, could I conclude there is a travel shock effect. Somehow...I just didn't feel up to a $360 experiment last night.
2. The Old btl was put into the new kitchen fridge. The New btl was put into the old/clunky fridge in the garage. The greater vibrations the New btl was subjected may have caused the result. The temperatures may have been slightly different.
3. The Moon had not yet risen in the East over the Sangres. My palate may have been out of sync because of the Lunar effects.

So it may be jumping to too hasty a conclusion to assert that there is a travel shock effect on wine based on this one experiment.

Last comment: Both the Left & Right glasses were a lovely glass of wine. As I drank the Right/New glass of Roussanne, I tried to think back to my experience I had w/ the wine some 2 months ago when I had my last btl of it. I don't think I could tell a differenct in the Right/New glass and my recollection of the wine from then.

So...anecdotally...there is no travel shock effect on wine. But empirically, given the above caveats, and many undiscussed ones; there is a travel shock effect on wine...but it seems a minor effect.

Just another data point.

IMHO...this EdmundsStJohn Roussanne '04 may be one of the greatest Roussannes made in Calif. Maybe not right now, but down the road. It is big/rich/ripe and lush; yet has a high acidity underneath and a nice minerality. I suspect this will go for 10-15 yrs yet. Amazing juice.

TomHill

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#327949 - 06-08-2007 14:58:52 Four For Four... [Re: TomHill]
TomHill Online   content
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Elvis Has Entered the Building!

Registered: 02-15-2004 17:42:19
Posts: 10723
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Repeated the test 3 more times over the last 3 days. Nailed the just arrived/traveled btl every time, at various temperatures and after sitting in the btl those 3 days.
The just arrived btl just seemed a bit brittle & hollow, not the richness & lushness of the one that had been here 6 months.
Tom

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#327963 - 06-08-2007 21:28:13 Re: Four For Four... [Re: TomHill]
David Nelson Offline
Regular

Registered: 10-07-2002 07:00:00
Posts: 681
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Tom,

Thanks for undertaking the experiment and reporting the results. I appreciate it, as I've generally been of the let 'em rest camp.

Interestingly (at least to me) one occasion when I couldn't resist the pop and pour at the office turned out to be an instance of positive travel shock. I opened an '02 ESJ The Shadow on arrival to see what I thought before recommending to friends, and that bottle showed much more open than any of the other three bottles I subsequently have opened. I'm leaving that one alone at least until the fall.

Wine is definitely fascinating stuff!

Cheers,

Dave

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#327989 - 06-09-2007 16:05:30 Yup.... [Re: David Nelson]
TomHill Online   content
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Elvis Has Entered the Building!

Registered: 02-15-2004 17:42:19
Posts: 10723
Loc: LosAlamos
Dave,
The last btl I had of TheShadow, in fact, the three I've had thus far, all seemed pretty tightly wound. But great structure to it. I think that TheShadow is going to be a pretty special wine down the road in a few yrs, however. Too bad we had to pay such big $$'s for it!! :-)
Tom

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#328003 - 06-09-2007 21:27:28 Surprisingly, .... [Re: TomHill]
BEB Online   content
True Southern Exposure
Crazed Wino

Registered: 01-02-2001 08:00:00
Posts: 5389
Loc: Somewhere in the Great Valley ...
... no one has mentioned Matt Kramer's words on this subject in Making Sense of Wine. He distinguishes "bottle sickness" which he attributes to bottling and shipping and wine which is subject to prolonged vibrations. Wine recovers, he says, from bottle sickness in 1 to 3 weeks. However, wine is not materially affected by prolonged vibrations (such as by an air conditioner or other cooling unit.) He doesn't not, to my mind, sufficiently distinguish how bottle sickness occurs in the former but not in the latter. It would appear to be an absorption of oxygen that he attributes to "bottle sickness."


Edited by BEB (06-10-2007 12:38:26)
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BEB

"I've wrestled with reality for 35 years and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." Elwood P. Dowd

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#328039 - 06-10-2007 15:22:42 Re: Four For Four... [Re: TomHill]
Noel Offline
Local

Registered: 01-27-2005 01:56:23
Posts: 1947
Loc: Philippines
I totally agree that wine should rest for at least a month after shipping (my friend, Edouard, says a minimum of 3 months in his opinion); as I have my wine flown in from SF to Manila.

I learned this through experience when I gave up buying Bordeaux from local retailers several a years ago and started importing wine for myself. An example that comes to mind is the '98 Ch. Le Bon Pasteur which I got all from the same source, 1 cases from Winex.

I tried a few within the first 2 weeks after receiving them (around November 2004) and found them to be interesting enough to buy more at the price (only US$48 per at the time), but nothing too exciting. I tried another couple of bottles after around another couple of weeks and found them slightly better, but still not overly interesting. After that, I left them alone for around 8-10 months.

Next I tried some, and until I finished them, they were absolutely singing.

Another example a couple of years ago was the Doc's 1990 Sociando Mallet which he opened a mere few hours after it arrived. It was very edgy and nervous to me. I kidded him that it was still suffering from jetlag.
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