20 yo Rhubarb

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winemaker81

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Visiting family last night, my b-in-l told me to grab another bottle from the wine fridge. I grabbed this one and we played a round of "what the heck is it?". He had recently cleaned his cellar and found a few odd bottles tucked away, with the labels long gone, e.g., undecipherable.

This one had a line of sediment along the side of the bottle and the cork was solidly embedded. A table-top corkscrew pulled through the cork -- we had to fight to get the cork out using several different corkscrews, but my sister managed to extract it whole, which surprised us.

The wine has a light sherry smell, but oddly enough, didn't smell bad. I was given the sacrificial glass, and hammed it up a bit, as it actually tastes good but I made it seem otherwise! I'm told my facial expressions were great!

The wine is rhubarb, and my b-in-l figured out he made it before his daughter was married, so it's 20+ years old. Some folks claim fruit wines don't age well ... they're quite wrong!

rhubarb.jpg
 

winemaker81

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The wine had a synthetic cork, whatever was available circa 2000. If it had been natural cork, the corkscrew would have shredded it.

In hindsight, I'm unsure about the aroma. I thought it was sherry, and given the age and color, that's a natural assumption. But it might have been aged rhubarb. It's the last bottle so the world will never know ...

Storage conditions were very high humidity, low temperature (lower 50's in the winter, upper 50's/low 60's in the summer, which must have played a factor in the survivability of the wine.

He has another unidentified bottle in the fridge ... wondering what that one is??? :r
 

BernardSmith

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But you said it. "a light sherry smell". That says everything. It was oxidized but you nevertheless, enjoyed the wine. You have not added any evidence to challenge the claim that country wines don't last as long as some grape wines. Sherry aromas and flavors are faults unless they were intended.
 

winemaker81

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Sherry aromas and flavors are faults unless they were intended.
I've had an unfortunate number of commercial wines where I thought, "WTF were they thinking when they bottled this???"

Oh, yeah, "profit" and/or "paying the bills". This includes more than a few sherries, which slowed me down on trying new sherries (well, new to me).

In hindsight, I was expecting an oxidized flavor, so I perceived what I was expecting. It's a 20 yo rhubarb -- how good can it be??? Thinking back on the reactions as people tasted the wine, it was all positive.

We're all winemakers of varying experience -- those who have been around a while learn that intentions mean nothing. Results do.

I had the opportunity to taste a 20+ yo rhubarb wine that had aged well. This is clear evidence that fruit wines can age.
 

Rice_Guy

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Bryan, my take on all this is “what can we do to improve our technique?”
SHERRY notes translate into this was a very slow oxygen exposure, a few milligrams per year.
BURN in the back of the throat/ acetaldehyde would be a large oxygen exposure all at once/ sloppy technique
VA, in mom’s case she also had rusted through caps and then vinegar
 

photoguy

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Visiting family last night, my b-in-l told me to grab another bottle from the wine fridge. I grabbed this one and we played a round of "what the heck is it?". He had recently cleaned his cellar and found a few odd bottles tucked away, with the labels long gone, e.g., undecipherable.

This one had a line of sediment along the side of the bottle and the cork was solidly embedded. A table-top corkscrew pulled through the cork -- we had to fight to get the cork out using several different corkscrews, but my sister managed to extract it whole, which surprised us.

The wine has a light sherry smell, but oddly enough, didn't smell bad. I was given the sacrificial glass, and hammed it up a bit, as it actually tastes good but I made it seem otherwise! I'm told my facial expressions were great!

The wine is rhubarb, and my b-in-l figured out he made it before his daughter was married, so it's 20+ years old. Some folks claim fruit wines don't age well ... they're quite wrong!

View attachment 76913
my experience exactly. I still have 6 bottles of rhubarb i made in 2000. Exelent!!! when i made it was awful and contemplated to toss the lot but put it on the bottom of my racks and forgot about it for good 15 years. now i wish i made more of it lol.
 

balatonwine

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Sherry aromas and flavors are faults unless they were intended.
I agree.

But... (yes, there is a "but")

If the first ever Sherry was a mistake (i.e. not intended), and the wine maker said "Ewww, that is disgusting!", and poured out the bottle so the idea was lost, rather than saying "Daaaaammmmnnnn, that is Amazing!", Sherry may never have become a wine making style....

Ergo, what is today's not intended "fault", may become a method of wine making that changes wine making styles, concepts and attitudes. So maybe in another 20 years, fruit wine will become known to "age well" as Sherry.

Never discount those happy accidents. Serendipity can be a friend. It can be part of progess. :)
 

BernardSmith

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I don't disagree with your point but if you were intending to travel to Australia to marry your best friend and found yourself penniless and friendless in Argentina that could be a happy accident or it could be the worse unintended mistake you ever made.
 

balatonwine

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but if you were intending to travel to Australia to marry your best friend and found yourself penniless and friendless in Argentina that could be a happy accident or it could be the worse unintended mistake you ever made.
Agreed. There are accidents and happy accidents. I am careful not to confuse the two. ;)

In other words, maybe the Australian lady would have turned out to be a shrew. So that would have been a happy accident to be stuck in Argentina with all those Latin Lovelies.... During Carnival.... Daaaaammmmnnnn!
 
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