Home > Experiences, Food and wine pairing, monthly wine writing challenge, wine writing > Does the Wine Deserves Second Chance?

Does the Wine Deserves Second Chance?

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

MWWC_logoThis post is an entry for the 22nd Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC22), with the theme of “Second Chance”. Previous themes in the order of appearance were: Transportation, Trouble, Possession, Oops, Feast, Mystery, Devotion, Luck, Fear, Value, Friend, Local, Serendipity, Tradition, Success, Finish, Epiphany, Crisis, Choice, Variety, Pairing.

Let me describe to you I’m sure a very familiar situation: the bottle of wine is opened, wine is poured in a glass, you take a sip and … you don’t like it. Too sweet, too acidic, too sharp, too tannic, too “biting” – it is not always that you follow a sip with “wow” or “ahh”. What do you do next? Of course I understand that this question doesn’t have a single answer, as everything depends on the context. And as a side note, it is also implied that the wine is not spoiled – not corked, not cooked, not oxidized – it is simply not to your liking.

Let’s assume that you opened the wine in the comfort of your home. You can simply put the glass aside and decide to wait and see if the wine will change (you of course hope for the better). If this happened in the restaurant, your choices are limited – if you just ordered this bottle out of your own will, in most of the cases you can’t send it back (remember, we said it is not spoiled) – you can ask for the wine to be chilled or decanted, but that is about all you can do. If you are at a friend’s house, you probably have only one choice – to smile and to say that this is delicious, unless you grew tired of that friendship long time ago, so then it might be a good opportunity to end it on a high note.

No matter what setting it was, let’s assume you didn’t get to the point of liking the wine, and now it is in your memory as the wine-I-never-want-to-touch-again. Would you ever think of giving this wine another chance?

Yes, I know. There is such an abundance of wine around us that if we don’t like something, why bother with any “second chances”? It is humanely impossible to taste all the wines produced in the world, so why bother with something which you were done and over with? Yes, by all means you have a point. But is there a tiny little voice inside your head, which says “may be that wine needed more time to open up”, or “may be I was just in the wrong mood”, or “may be my food overpowered the wine”? Do you ever get any of those “may be”s, so you would actually go and try the wine again, just because you are curious?

Lamborghini wineI understand that this is matter of personality and an outlook on life in general, but more often than not, I find myself in the “may be?”, a “what if?” group. This is especially true when it comes to the wines which I open at home. If I take a sip of wine and don’t like it, I often put it aside, to try it on the next day. Or may be the day after next. Or may be even after that. One of my favorite examples is the bottle of 2002 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which opened up only on the 5th day (the wine was 11 years old when it was opened). When I took a first sip after just opening a bottle, the wine was tannic and literally devoid of fruit – there was no pleasure in that wine. Pumped the air out, put it aside for a day. Next day – literally no changes. And so was the story on the next day, and the next day. But I was not not ready to declare the wine a failure and just pour it out – kept giving it second chances. And the reward came on the day number 5, with layered fruit and delicious, powerful wine.

I have another example from literally 2 weeks ago, when we opened a bottle of 1980 Lamborghini Colli del Trasimeno Rosso (I can tell you that I bought the wine strictly on the basis of the fun name – Lamborghini – a car which I’m sure anyone would be happy to drive at least once). The wine was opened, went into a decanter – and for the whole evening nobody liked to drink it, as it tasted more as brine than the wine. I can’t tell you if I was giving the wine a conscious second chance, or was simply lazy to pour it out. Next day before clearing the decanter I decided to take a little sip – why not? And it appeared that the wine actually developed into delicious, mature wine, with the nose of tertiary aromas and palate full of sweet plums. Not the most amazing wine I ever had in my life, but perfectly delicious, mature wine which delivered lots of pleasure.

I could go on and on with similar examples, but I’m sure you got my point – the wine could’ve been discarded as “bad” and the great pleasure would be missed, if it wouldn’t be for the second chances.

So, what do you think? Do you have any “second chance” wine stories of your own, maybe with the happy ending? Do you think wines deserve their second chances? Cheers!


  1. January 18, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Great post! Can’t think of any succesful “second chance” memories right now, but it has happened to me on several occasions that a wine that was just OK at first, turned out to become much better by the time I got to the last sip. And I regretted not giving it more air before.

    • talkavino
      January 18, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Thanks, Stefan. Yes, it happened a number of times, but not always. still, we have to keep trying, right? 🙂

  2. Lisa Denning
    January 18, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I loved this post! I often save a wine I don’t like for a day or two, or even three!! You’re right … It definitely changes over the course of a few days and sometimes (admittedly usually not!) for the better! Thanks for a fun, interesting read, as usual!

    • talkavino
      January 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you Lisa! Yes, I’m sure you’ve been in this situation. Patience is one of the most important virtues of the oenophile 🙂

  3. January 18, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Reblogged this on mwwcblog.

  4. January 18, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Good points and a question I often ponder. Technical question for you: in the case where you decanted the bottle and didn’t drink it that night, how do you store that? Do you leave the decanter open to the air? Cover it with plastic/foil/paper/glass stopper? I never know what’s right! Thanks!

    • talkavino
      January 18, 2016 at 10:20 am

      glad to hear I’m not alone with that issue 🙂 Now for your question – there are few options there. My case was simple- I didn’t care for the wine at all, so I left it simply open in the standard duck decanter, as I didn’t think much of it. So this is not a normal case. For the wine which went into a decanted and was unfinished, there are few options. First, there are decanters which allow you to close them and pump the air out as you typically would with the bottle which was unfinished ( you can search for those online). I usually simply pour the wine back into the bottle – using either funnel or simply pouring back from the decanter, then close it as any other bottle and pump the air out. Not sure what I would do if the bottle would have sediment though – didn’t encounter that issue yet.

      • January 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

        Got it – thank you! I will definitely rebottle next time this happens 🙂

  5. January 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Ours was 1998 Chateau Lafite
    Rothschild. Needed to be decanted
    twice over 36 hours. Then it was beautiful. This happened to us twice with this wine. So very glad we did
    not give up on it!

    • talkavino
      January 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      Hmmm, nice choice of wine to suffer over 🙂 Can I get an invitation next time you will decide to open something like that? I will gladly join you in your suffering … 🙂

    • January 18, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      I’d say it’s worth second chance (or third, or fourth….)!

  6. January 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    5 days? So interesting. This truly embodies the truth that wine is a living thing.

    • talkavino
      January 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      yes, wine is a living thing always – it is always changing in the bottle, whether it is opened or still closed…

  7. January 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I know I’m no expert here and my opinion doesn’t really count so take it for what is worth. 😉 No, I don’t usually give a second chance. If I don’t like a certain wine, I’d rather drink water than something I don’t like. 🙂

    • talkavino
      January 19, 2016 at 9:42 am

      Dear friend, you perfectly know that “you don’t have to be a chef to understand the quality of the omelette” (or whatever way this famous phrase is exactly written), so your opinion is as valid as any triple-certified triple-self-crowned expert. but then yes, knowing you, I’m acutely aware that you are not into the second chances – but you that I always try nevertheless 🙂

  8. January 19, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    My second chance wine is Norton, a popular grape here in Virginia, often considered Virginia’s native grape. Though, truth be told, I’m on about the 13th chance with Norton . . . still trying to find one I like. But I’m not giving up. Cheers, Anatoli!

    • talkavino
      January 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Yes, I hear you. I think we already had this discussion, but did you try Chrysalis Norton? I liked it. It also needs a bit of an age on it (or may be a lot of age). Anyway, as long you you keep trying…. 🙂

      • January 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        Yes . . . I have tried the Chrysalis Norton. It’s probably the best example I’ve tried. I wonder if I bought a bottle and tucked it away for a few years?? And I will keep trying . . .

  9. January 19, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Excellent post, rally enjoyed reading this, and agree with you. And there are a few bottles I’ve dumped, but most are given many chances over several days to demonstrate their worth, and they can sometimes show great breadth in doing so!

    • talkavino
      January 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks Jim! Yes, I’m sure that you faced the situation once or twice 🙂

  10. January 27, 2016 at 5:45 am

    I work in a restaurant and we’ve had a dew wines that have been opened for training and tasting and have been rather unpopular. I, much like yourself, will persevere and maybe decant or leave the bottle on the side and go back to it later or the next day. A couple of Bordeaux wines have surprised me in this way. So, in summary, I completely agree with your opinion of a second chance!

  1. January 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: