Premox in red wine.

Just reflecting on a few recent bottles that I have had to pour down the drain because they were oxidised;

1998 Mauro Veglio Barolo ‘Vigneto Rocche’
1999 Prodottori del Barbaresco ‘Rabaja’
2001 Cepparello
1995 Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco ‘Gallina di Nieve’
1996 La Grande Rue
1995 Dujac ‘Clos St-.Denis (375ml)
1999 Drouhin ‘Clos des Mouches’ (375ml)

I know you take a risk with the halves but all of these wines I would have expected to be sound. The wines were all from good cellars and I guess that the only real reason for the oxidation is closure (ie cork) or are there a myriad of other factors like we debate with white Burgundy?

Crazy. I was just having this conversation about some late 90’s Piedmontese reds with my retailer. I thought he was crazy. Now I’m wondering.

Damn Jeremy! You are scaring me. I haven’t seen any yet (other than '01 Fourrier)…

I know I have had a few premoxed red burgs also…two vintages come to mind in a quick think, a '96 and a '98…can’t remember what they were though…

Add a recently drunk bottle of 95 Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero to the list. Makes you wonder if there was an issue with a cork distributor in the Langhe, doesn’t it?

Corks are the weak link in the chain. I’ve seen Jamie Goode IIRC quote data indicating corks vary by more than an order of magnitude in oxygen ingress. The ‘average’ cork is good for aging, but it seems the variance is large enough that a certain number of wines will be oxidized due to variation.

I don’t know that this is really premox, though. It’s more the price of doing business.

As Greg says-and I suspect that as percentage of Jeremy’s recent consumption this is not a particularly high percentage!
Cork quality in general does seem to have reached its nadir in the nineties, I think things are a bit better know. I have feared premox in reds for a while-after all the same corks are used-but have come to realise that corks are at the most only part of the issue here. I am no longer particularly worried.

This one is mega concerning to me, as these guys are about as old school as it comes. This stuff ages like a glacier usually.

I’ve run in to a number of bad bottles from Piedmont between 95 and 00, but never really chalked it up to oxidation so much as I thought it was just a poorly stored bottle.

The Piedmont cork claim may not be so wild after all. Altare lost all his 97s b/c of cork taint, and fairly sure someone else in that era lost a batch of wine b/c of the same issues. I’ve also had some funny bottles of Produttori from that time frame too. The 00s I had last summer were really off, and pre-mox would better explain the taste profile I had.

This seems to be different from premox in whites. This seems (at least from the above comments) to be about faulty corks. Premox in white Burgundies is thought to be based on cork “remedies” and winemaking issues.

At a large tasting of Coche red wines a couple of years ago we thought some of the late 90s vintages were showing it.

The other shoe. IIRC, Don has been predicting red pre-mox, lagged behind the incidence in white wines because of skin extract’s anti-oxidative qualities.

I find this quite a bit in 375ml format, because the corks are so variable and rarely have a great seal like 750’s. More and more 375ml corks just slide out of the bottle, where I have a better seal on 750’s.

Even a small flaw on one side of a cork that let’s air in can affect a wine, and on a 375ml it is a multiple of times worse than on the volume of a 375ml.

From one Jeremy to another, the variability is far greater with half bottles than with bottles, especially after they have travelled. That is why we have all but stopped selling halves and keep them only for tasting purposes at the domaine. And 15 years for a half bottle to show some oxidation is painful, but does it really fit the term “premature”? I am guessing a low fill and a lisghtly over permeable cork would be the culprits here. At the time, we bottled all of our halves by hand, adding some extra variability.

I am really not seeing premature oxidation in the reds. There always have been and always will be some wines that disappoint with age as they lose their fruit, but I think that is typically due to an over rating of their qualities in youth and of their ability to age than a new problem due to XXX (insert any of the premox possible explanations here).

I have now heard several serious people calling out “premox of red Burgundy!” but really have not been seeing any evidence of it, nor any explanation of why it should happen. Certainly there is enough anxiety, at times bordering on paranoia, out there that if there were a real problem, it would be getting noticed by the attentive members of this board or others.

This message may be taken by some as the type of reassuring talk that some white producers were giving in the early days, but please believe me, we are paying serious attention and have no intentions to stick our heads in the sand should a problem arise.

I’ve had one red that I can only describe as premox. Flabby, no fruit, color was turning brown - and this was a 2006 vintage! (It was a US wine, so no slam on Burgundy). Can think of nothing more than too much O getting through the cork (which looked fine - go figure). Only had that happen once - but did have one bottle from the same winery and same age that was vinegar. Again, the cork was fine.

I certainly have no intention of scare mongering and perhaps should not have titled the thread premox, just commenting on a bad run of red wines that were oxidised (all showed a lot of caramel, sherry notes) and I guess a fact that I seem to pour a lot more oxidised reds down the drain than whites.

I suspect that due to colour, oxidation gets picked up on more readily in whites than red and with the nervousness out there about whites I also suspect that quite a bit of white burgundy gets poured down the drain after the consumer notes a darker colour, but does not let the wine breathe up properly. A good mate of mine noted that his recent experience with a 2001 Coche Meursault ‘Rougeots’ possessed quite a deep colour and had what appeared to be oxidative notes only to breathe up splendidly in a decanter an hour later, he was going to pour the wine down the sink after the first inspection. I have seen quite a few 01 and 02 Pierre Morey wines behave in a similar way.

Anyhow, if offered, I would buy all of my Dujac under screwcap for what it’s worth.

Best Regards

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a definition of the premox red!?

My definition is a wine that should be drinking well that is oxidised, hence it has oxidised prematurely vs. expectation.

Doesn’t that sound like cooked bottle? I had some bottles that completely lost their fruit and tasted sour and others from the same case were just fine which made me believe something was wrong with cork.

Going back to Piemonte for a moment, it’s odd that we’d be finding it there because most producers seem to splurge on cork, using very long and what appear to be very high grade corks. On the other hand, I recall Paul Draper saying many years back that it was harder to get really high quality 2" corks. Hence, Ridge has tended to use shorter corks. Perhaps the Piemontese obsession with excellence has a downside? Utter speculation, but I throw it out here.

Who do you think you are? Pierre-Antoine Rovani? Oxidized Piemontese bottles are nothing new. There is a lot of badly stored and transported wine out there. Even high-end Piemontese ristoranti do not always take proper care of the wines in their cellars. There is no hard and fast rule on this, but the more rustic and further down the price and quality food chains a Nebbiolo is, the greater the risk that its producer and/or exporters still subscribe to antiquated storage/handling policies. Even in the homes of local aristocracy in the Piemonte, it is not unusual to see bottles stored upright in above-ground heated (but not air conditioned) rooms. And despite the legendary quality of Giacosa wines generally, 1995 was a decent-not-great vintage, and white-label Gallina Barbarescos are not among his most ageworthy wines, so, with a little mishandling, oxidation could be somewhat “normal” in that bottle.