Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bottle Shock

Bottle shock (bottle sickness) is defined in The Oxford Companion to Wine as "unpleasant and increasingly rare smell apparent in a wine immediately on opening which dissipates after a few minutes". The smell is from sulfur dioxide, which is added during the bottling process to counter possible oxidation. One of the faults that occur as a result of oxidation is browning of the juice.
George Taber, in his book,"Judgment of Paris", tells us that bottle shock is "when unexpected developments in the wine" occur after bottling. He then explains "pinking in the bottle" by telling us "wine has a natural browning enzyme that disappears when it comes in contact with oxygen" but winemakers used to try to ensure no oxygen touched their wine.
This phenomenon nearly kept the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from the 1976 blinding tasting in Paris where it beat five other California whites and four French favorites. This blind tasting is the subject of Mr. Taber's book on which the movie, "Bottle Shock" is loosely based.
I would highly recommend "Judgment of Paris" for any serious wine lover, or for anyone who likes a story of challenge and triumph. It is a historical chronical, a wine text and great story-telling. "Bottle Shock" is good story-telling, too, and is a "must see" for anyone interested in wine. Although it does not follow the book, it is certainly better than "Sideways" and is a great story. There is romance and comedy (especially between Alan Rickman and Dennis Farina) and you are definitely going to be routing for the U.S., just as you did watching "Miracle". It has a good soundtrack, too, plus Chris Pine (Bo Barrett) is not hard to look at. For fans of Gray's Anatomy, or the men out there, one of the stars of the movie is Rachael Taylor (Sam Fulton), the new pediatrician.

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