Nope, bottle shock isn’t when you jump out wearing a scary mask to surprise your favorite wine! Sorry to disappoint, although that would have been a fun topic!
“Bottle shock” is actually very hard to describe scientifically, but it’s certainly very real.
When a wine is reported to be suffering from bottle shock, it is said to be closed or muted on the palate. All the individual parts of the wine become disjointed, leaving you with a wine that is one-dimensional, dull and lifeless. In that respect, you could actually say the wine has “Paris Hilton Syndrome”, but I digress…
There are known to be a couple of reasons why bottle shock occurs:
– It’s often thought that prolonged periods of transport can force a wine into “shock”.
I don’t blame it! All that shaking would shock me too!
– The other reason is a result of bottling, and supposedly from the introduction of minute amounts of oxygen and/or sulfur dioxide.
Older wines are believed to be more susceptible to “bottle sickness” as it is often called; but I’ve heard of plenty of current release Californian wines that the problem has also affected.
Thankfully, the state of shock for a bottle of wine is only temporary, and like a bad hangover, the only cure for bottle shock is time. How much time varies greatly depending on the wine itself. Some sources state that a day or three letting the bottle rest will cure it. Others suggest more like a few weeks.