The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

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Will the 1999 Dom Perignon suffer from heat damage?

Yes
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No
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The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#1 Post by brigcampbell »

My homage to the GOAT (greatest of all threads) by Mark B (Drinkxie) The 16-bottle Chardonnay Blowout Challenge If you have not read this thread then stop now and click on the link, it'll be the best 15 minutes of your WB life.

The Question: Will this bottle of Champagne be good or bad. Has heat damage destroyed the wine? I will post a tasting note with the results.

The Background: I acquired a bottle of 1999 Dom Perignon on release that I stored in my cellar for the last 13 years, more on that later, as a birth year wine for my god daughter Carly who was born on Thanksgiving Day November 24, 1999. The plan is to open this bottle on her 21st birthday.

The Cellar: Below is a picture of my cellar. It looks much like a coat closet because it is a coat closet that I highjacked from my wife.

The Condition: This where it gets interesting.
  • 13 years in the closet
  • No temperature control in the cellar just room temperature year around
  • I live in Southern California
  • We don't use the air conditioner or heater - maybe 5 times a year. Crazy, I know
  • The Champagne spends at least 6 hours a day for 4 months above 80 degrees
  • Not uncommon for the room temp to be 85 degrees for a month in August
  • Daily bottle temperature swings average 15 degrees
This is a graph of the average temperature in Mission Viejo, California.
mv temp.png
.
.

The Results

Clearly - wine is significantly more stable than most people believe and the threat of heat damage is vastly overstated. So the time someone's cellar cooler craps out and the wine spends a few days at 75 degrees refer them to this thread where a bottle of Dom spent more than 120 days a year at 75+ for 13 years

  • 1999 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon - France, Champagne (11/27/2020)
    Medium gold color. Very fine bubbles and an exquisite mouth feel - prickly yet soft - very interesting. Reminds me of Krug in that perspective.

    Aromas of light caramel, medium plus toast, almond slivers, and apple sauce. Palate is very good, a very strong yellow apple flavor with bracing acidity. With all the acid is thought I would pick up lemon or green apple, nope, just the yellow. The creamy caramel note emerges mid palate and remains through the finish.

    Beautiful bottle of champagne opened for Carly's 21st birthday with Kim, Chris, Rosie and Taylor.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#2 Post by JLee »

Unfortunately I think you're very likely to see heat damage.

I've had champagne that's been perceptible altered for the worse in conditions much less extreme than that. How good the champagne will be I have no idea but not a bad idea to have something as back up.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#3 Post by brigcampbell »

JLee wrote: November 26th, 2020, 8:52 am Unfortunately I think you're very likely to see heat damage.

I've had champagne that's been perceptible altered for the worse in conditions much less extreme than that. How good the champagne will be I have no idea but not a bad idea to have something as back up.
When I told fellow berserker Chris Seiber about this he offered a 1999 from his cellar as a backup. That's a good friend!

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#4 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

My guess is that it will be heat-damaged, but, obviously, my hope is that it's not. And, my man, all those other wines in there! :-o [beg.gif]

Happy momentous Birthday to Carly! champagne.gif
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#5 Post by brigcampbell »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: November 26th, 2020, 11:21 am My guess is that it will be heat-damaged, but, obviously, my hope is that it's not. And, my man, all those other wines in there! :-o [beg.gif]

Happy momentous Birthday to Carly! champagne.gif
Remember the heat damage challenge Bob did at OCPoker4Wine?

3 bottles of Avalon. One stored in his cellar, another on the counter, and the third in the trunk of his car.

The trunk bottle was fried. LOL

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#6 Post by Chris Seiber »

My guess is not heat damaged, but maybe less fresh and youthful than a perfectly stored bottle.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#7 Post by brigcampbell »

Here is the cork. It pulled out very easily and the neck never mushroomed or expanded. The cork fit right back into the bottle. Never seen that in a champagne or sparkler before.

Very dense cork, like a rock. Maybe corks don't like California's low humidity and warm temperatures?
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#8 Post by J.Vizuete »

I did a similar “experiment” with a 96 DP in my parent’s cabinet in South Texas. An air conditioned home, but the sun fell on the cabinet such that I suppose the temps were higher inside. Near 100% humidity year round. Sadly, while on its side, the cork contracted and failed, yielding vinegar of the finest pedigree.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#9 Post by brigcampbell »

One more data point before I start carving the turkey. Here's a picture of wine in glass. I don't have much experience with DP, mostly grower, so don't know how this color compares.

I would describe it as medium gold.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#10 Post by J.Vizuete »

Looks fine to me
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#11 Post by Jeremy Holmes »

Perfect colour.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#12 Post by Anton D »

I would be able to tell, but not something Neal Mollen could.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#13 Post by John Telford »

My experience is that vintage aged champagne, in particular Dom, do not "mushroom" much when open.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#14 Post by Brad Baker »

Interesting. The bottle isn't going to be prisitine and will likely show more development than normal, but it still might be okay. If the temperature graph you showed can be correlated over to the storage closet then things probably aren't too bad. It looks like you have enough mass in the closet to keep the bottle temperature from any quick swings and my guess is the bottle fluctuated from the low 60s to the low 70s across the year. My first concern would be cork failure (losing the seal), but if the wine still has true effervesence and not just bubbles that briefly appear in suspension and then fade away then you made it across that hurdle. Color doesn't look too bad either. Let us know.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#15 Post by brigcampbell »

The results are in and the bottle was beautiful. Good news because I have 250 other bottles I store in the same condition in the closet. BTW - I've never had a bottle I thought was heat damaged from the closet in the 15 years I've used it.

The cork, as Brad mentioned, was a big concern because I think it's possible the drying out of the cork could be a bigger factor in wine flaws than temperature.

Clearly - wine is significantly more stable than most people believe and the threat of heat damage is vastly overstated. So the time someone's cellar cooler craps out and the wine spends a few days at 75 degrees refer them to this thread where a bottle of Dom spent more than 120 days a year at 75+ for 13 years.

FYI - this bottle was stored on its side for the last 10 years.
  • 1999 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon - France, Champagne (11/27/2020)
    Medium gold color. Very fine bubbles and an exquisite mouth feel - prickly yet soft - very interesting. Reminds me of Krug in that perspective.

    Aromas of light caramel, medium plus toast, almond slivers, and apple sauce. Palate is very good, a very strong yellow apple flavor with bracing acidity. With all the acid is thought I would pick up lemon or green apple, nope, just the yellow. The creamy caramel note emerges mid palate and remains through the finish.

    Beautiful bottle of champagne opened for Carly's 21st birthday with Kim, Chris, Rosie and Taylor.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#16 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

brigcampbell wrote: November 26th, 2020, 11:55 am
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: November 26th, 2020, 11:21 am My guess is that it will be heat-damaged, but, obviously, my hope is that it's not. And, my man, all those other wines in there! :-o [beg.gif]

Happy momentous Birthday to Carly! champagne.gif
Remember the heat damage challenge Bob did at OCPoker4Wine?

3 bottles of Avalon. One stored in his cellar, another on the counter, and the third in the trunk of his car.

The trunk bottle was fried. LOL
I do remember that pretty well. One of the three bottles was badly corked, which screwed up the experiment.

Glad your 99 Dom ultimately showed well. That's pretty incredible!
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#17 Post by J D o v e »

“Clearly - wine is significantly more stable than most people believe and the threat of heat damage is vastly overstated.”

I’m going to offer this post not to be argumentative, but to just provide a counterpoint. It would be unfortunate if anyone from this really simple experiment drew the conclusion that temperatures don’t matter when you store wine.

I have no experience with this kind of experiment with champagne. However, I have extensive experience with the same experiment with all sorts of red wine. If that bottle had been a good 2000 Pauillac, and if you tasted it side-by-side with another of the same bottle stored properly, there’s no doubt in my mind it would be very obvious that one was stored differently than the other.

My guess, and I obviously can’t prove it, is that had you compared it to a similar 1999 DP, you would’ve observed differences between the two wines.

Again, I have no desire to argue and I am not trying to be a jerk. I’m just trying to prevent someone from making a mistake and thinking that their coat closet is an acceptable place to store fine wine for many years.

All that said, I’m happy that this one worked out for you.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#18 Post by Jim F »

Not trying to cast shade, and I tend to agree that wine is more resilient than many of us think. But you gotta love these experiments with an N= 1 and no controls. deadhorse [smileyvault-ban.gif]
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#19 Post by Marshall Manning »

J Dove wrote: November 27th, 2020, 12:05 pm “Clearly - wine is significantly more stable than most people believe and the threat of heat damage is vastly overstated.”

I’m going to offer this post not to be argumentative, but to just provide a counterpoint. It would be unfortunate if anyone from this really simple experiment drew the conclusion that temperatures don’t matter when you store wine.

I have no experience with this kind of experiment with champagne. However, I have extensive experience with the same experiment with all sorts of red wine. If that bottle had been a good 2000 Pauillac, and if you tasted it side-by-side with another of the same bottle stored properly, there’s no doubt in my mind it would be very obvious that one was stored differently than the other.

My guess, and I obviously can’t prove it, is that had you compared it to a similar 1999 DP, you would’ve observed differences between the two wines.

Again, I have no desire to argue and I am not trying to be a jerk. I’m just trying to prevent someone from making a mistake and thinking that their coat closet is an acceptable place to store fine wine for many years.

All that said, I’m happy that this one worked out for you.
I totally agree, J. While the bottle sounded drinkable, the references to caramel indicated to me that it probably wasn't quite as fresh as a bottle that was stored under ideal conditions would be. I believe that the threat of heat damage exists all along the pipeline, and for anyone who wants to age wine, the best thing to do is know your sources and keep the wine as well stored as you can throughout its life.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#20 Post by Craig G »

Jim F wrote: November 27th, 2020, 1:01 pm Not trying to cast shade, and I tend to agree that wine is more resilient than many of us think. But you gotta love these experiments with an N= 1 and no controls. deadhorse [smileyvault-ban.gif]
I think the only conclusion we can draw is that Brig likes heat-damaged wine.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#21 Post by brigcampbell »

Craig G wrote: November 27th, 2020, 6:38 pm
Jim F wrote: November 27th, 2020, 1:01 pm Not trying to cast shade, and I tend to agree that wine is more resilient than many of us think. But you gotta love these experiments with an N= 1 and no controls. deadhorse [smileyvault-ban.gif]
I think the only conclusion we can draw is that Brig likes heat-damaged wine.
Ha ha.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#22 Post by Craig G »

brigcampbell wrote: November 27th, 2020, 8:00 pm
Craig G wrote: November 27th, 2020, 6:38 pm
Jim F wrote: November 27th, 2020, 1:01 pm Not trying to cast shade, and I tend to agree that wine is more resilient than many of us think. But you gotta love these experiments with an N= 1 and no controls. deadhorse [smileyvault-ban.gif]
I think the only conclusion we can draw is that Brig likes heat-damaged wine.
Ha ha.
Just sayin’ [wink.gif]
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#23 Post by brigcampbell »

Marshall Manning wrote: November 27th, 2020, 5:26 pm
J Dove wrote: November 27th, 2020, 12:05 pm “Clearly - wine is significantly more stable than most people believe and the threat of heat damage is vastly overstated.”

I’m going to offer this post not to be argumentative, but to just provide a counterpoint. It would be unfortunate if anyone from this really simple experiment drew the conclusion that temperatures don’t matter when you store wine.

I have no experience with this kind of experiment with champagne. However, I have extensive experience with the same experiment with all sorts of red wine. If that bottle had been a good 2000 Pauillac, and if you tasted it side-by-side with another of the same bottle stored properly, there’s no doubt in my mind it would be very obvious that one was stored differently than the other.

My guess, and I obviously can’t prove it, is that had you compared it to a similar 1999 DP, you would’ve observed differences between the two wines.

Again, I have no desire to argue and I am not trying to be a jerk. I’m just trying to prevent someone from making a mistake and thinking that their coat closet is an acceptable place to store fine wine for many years.

All that said, I’m happy that this one worked out for you.
I totally agree, J. While the bottle sounded drinkable, the references to caramel indicated to me that it probably wasn't quite as fresh as a bottle that was stored under ideal conditions would be. I believe that the threat of heat damage exists all along the pipeline, and for anyone who wants to age wine, the best thing to do is know your sources and keep the wine as well stored as you can throughout its life.
I think your conclusion about the caramel note might be a stretch. See others perspective from CT, caramel seems to be a theme in the 1999 vintage. I saw nothing in my bottle that indicated it showed any different than a well stored bottle.

https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=92520

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#24 Post by T. Melloni »

Brig - heat issues aside. You bought this wine for a celebration of the 21st birthday of Carly, your goddaughter. And for many years, you stored said wine in a closet, waiting, presumably, for the day that Carly would turn 21years of age, which, in America is a pretty big deal. But then you drank it with "Kim, Chris, Rosie and Taylor."
Wtf? Dude. You didn't share it with Carly?
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#25 Post by brigcampbell »

LOL Carly was there.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#26 Post by David Glasser »

I don’t doubt that it was a thoroughly enjoyable bottle, Brig, and appreciate the report. But I don’t think your experience is necessarily generalizable to a wider audience.

With N=1 and no control, there’s insufficient data to reach any conclusion other than this bottle was fine on its own and offered great drinking pleasure. Which is what this is all about.

I’ve done blind and non-blind comparisons over a number of years with 3 cases of 1983 Prieure Lichine. Half stored in my father’s passive basement (~65-75 degree annual swings) vs. half stored in my temp-controller cellar (55-57 degrees) for the first 10 years of its life, then all stored in my cellar. Most comparisons showed the passive bottles to be more advanced. Not damaged, and not noticeably different if not tasted side by side on the same day.

Still a small sample size. My conclusion: it makes a difference. Not a huge one for a sturdy Bordeaux.

Other experiences with 1988 Climens purchased on release vs. secondary market and tasted both side by side and individually suggest it makes a bigger difference for less robust wines. I didn’t know the storage details of the secondary market purchase but most bottles were proclaimed wonderful by many experienced tasters when drunk in isolation. When paired with bottles I stored from release the difference in color and freshness was obvious. It was easy for me to tell without looking at the tag which batch a bottle was from by color alone.

I’ve never done this with Champagne but the party line is that it tends to be more sensitive to temperature than most. That said, your experience suggests we do obsess about temperature more than maybe we should.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#27 Post by Karl K »

I do believe wine generally speaking is sturdy enough to survive non-cellar temperatures but I also have found from experience (buying older wines from a wide array of sources over the past 25 years) that there is no substitute for properly cellaring wine.

It kind of goes to what you want to get out of it.

If you are going to buy 1990 Ausone, to pick an example, why wouldn’t you cellar it at the right conditions?
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#28 Post by Neal.Mollen »

Anton D wrote: November 26th, 2020, 4:26 pm I would be able to tell, but not something Neal Mollen could.
Image

As to the topic at hand, ask yourself if every bottle of wine made, everywhere in the world, before, say, 1950, was heat damaged when consumed.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#29 Post by brigcampbell »

Neal.Mollen wrote: November 29th, 2020, 7:19 am
As to the topic at hand, ask yourself if every bottle of wine made, everywhere in the world, before, say, 1950, was heat damaged when consumed.
That is an excellent observation which is probably why you made it.

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#30 Post by Cris Whetstone »

Brad Baker wrote: November 27th, 2020, 7:24 am Interesting. The bottle isn't going to be prisitine and will likely show more development than normal, but it still might be okay. If the temperature graph you showed can be correlated over to the storage closet then things probably aren't too bad. It looks like you have enough mass in the closet to keep the bottle temperature from any quick swings and my guess is the bottle fluctuated from the low 60s to the low 70s across the year. My first concern would be cork failure (losing the seal), but if the wine still has true effervesence and not just bubbles that briefly appear in suspension and then fade away then you made it across that hurdle. Color doesn't look too bad either. Let us know.
Brad pretty much said what I would have going in and expanded on that. The rapid changes and spikes in temperature are to be feared the most.

Champagne corks tend to lose that bounce back with age. Not surprised a cork 20 years in stayed narrow.

Wine is more resilient than many want to believe. But keeping valuable bottles around the house that are meant to be aged 10 plus years does have risks. You are also shifting that aging timeline as others have noted. That wine you wanted to drink at 25 years might be best drank at 15 years under such conditions. You can't really use the same drinking windows as others are.

Glad it was good though. I love Champagne with some secondary notes.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#31 Post by Cris Whetstone »

Neal.Mollen wrote: November 29th, 2020, 7:19 am As to the topic at hand, ask yourself if every bottle of wine made, everywhere in the world, before, say, 1950, was heat damaged when consumed.
That doesn't really follow unless every wine everywhere pre-1950 was stored in a warmish climate for 20 plus years prior to consumption. He's talking about a 20 year old bottle of Dom P. Most people drink their bottles closer to release. Also, the current parameters people use for cellaring wine in terms of temperature and humidity come from typical underground cellars from wineries in Europe. Because wines known to age well were stored in those or at least in cellars below peoples homes and castles, etc. People were not listening to wine collectors that stored their wines for decades in closets in warmer climates because those people were outliers if they existed at all. Chances are most people that did have had poor experiences.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#32 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

For the folks claiming "N = 1" here, you all must have missed where Brig said he's never had a(n apparently) heat-damaged bottle from this storage. Sounds like N > 1.

That said, I will continue storing my wines in the 50s. [cheers.gif]
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge

#33 Post by Marshall Manning »

Cris Whetstone wrote: November 29th, 2020, 10:02 am
Neal.Mollen wrote: November 29th, 2020, 7:19 am As to the topic at hand, ask yourself if every bottle of wine made, everywhere in the world, before, say, 1950, was heat damaged when consumed.
That doesn't really follow unless every wine everywhere pre-1950 was stored in a warmish climate for 20 plus years prior to consumption. He's talking about a 20 year old bottle of Dom P. Most people drink their bottles closer to release. Also, the current parameters people use for cellaring wine in terms of temperature and humidity come from typical underground cellars from wineries in Europe. Because wines known to age well were stored in those or at least in cellars below peoples homes and castles, etc. People were not listening to wine collectors that stored their wines for decades in closets in warmer climates because those people were outliers if they existed at all. Chances are most people that did have had poor experiences.
I was going to say the same thing, Chris. If you've ever been in cellars in the Loire, Burgundy, Rhone, Germany, Piedmont, etc., they are quite cool and probably never get over 60 degrees even in the summertime.
Marshall

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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#34 Post by Karl K »

FWIW I have bought Dom P from unverified storage and it showed fine. It’s just that for the most part I choose not to do that anymore. And I am very glad that all the wines are doing well for Brig.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#35 Post by Alex N »

That closet makes me nervous. I hope those wines all turn out well. Any specific reason you don't spring for a wine fridge? I don't have room for one so I use off site, and my collection is about 1/2 of yours.
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Re: The 1999 Dom Perignon Heat Damage Challenge - The Results

#36 Post by Jim F »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: November 29th, 2020, 10:50 am For the folks claiming "N = 1" here, you all must have missed where Brig said he's never had a(n apparently) heat-damaged bottle from this storage. Sounds like N > 1.

That said, I will continue storing my wines in the 50s. [cheers.gif]
Ok, ok, I get that but N = 1 was easier to say than starting a conversation about statistical significance [soap.gif]
Jim Freeman

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