Reconditioned bottles- Am I wrong?

I recently posted asking where to find reconditioned bottles. I got a few suggestions and then the thread got buried. Didn’t seem like there was a lot of interest on the board. But I have a totally different question about these bottles that I hope others will weigh in on. I hope it isn’t a total faux pas to start a new thread; I just felt like the old thread was pretty dead after 3 replies…

In the original post, I said that I like reconditioned bottles. Seems like having them cellared at the domaine, checked by the winemaker, then topped up and recorked, would be a good thing. But it looks like many people don’t feel this way (old thread linked below). Am I wrong here? Does a breaking the original seal and a brief exposure to air really damage wine that much?! Am I misguided?

I don’t have much experience with reconditioned bottles, but the few experiences that I have had suggest they can negatively affect the wine. For example, the red capsule Borgogno Barolo bottles are consistently better than the black capsule ones.


Interesting. Then why do it? Surely it costs the winery money to this reconditioning- what’s the point if it’s generally accepted to be detrimental to the wine?

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One aspect a lot of people and wineries overlook or ignore, it can take a number of years after being reconditioned to again show very good. They tend to go into a long dumb phase after being recorked.


It all depends on the winery. They have different regimens as far as topping up with the same wine or younger, and surely varying technical competencies in protecting the wine during the process. The reconditioned LLCs the chateau has put out as library releases are in pristine shape as are Lafite bottles from their occasional recorking tours. Andy is correct that there is a bottling shock period as with young wines, and in cases where younger wine is used as a topper some further cellar time is needed to snap the wine back to its proper aged profile.


That’s certainly what happens with red burgundy, it takes a decade or so to recover.

double post, somehow.

I just picked up some late release 99 Jamet, think that may be the case for something like that?

It’s kinda like plastic surgery in a way: if the original was so good, why do you need to “improve” upon it.

I don’t think the late release ones are reconditioned. Just late release right?

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Thread drift: nice to see you!

Yup , the Jamet releases are all just late release.

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I never thought of it as improving upon the wine, just ensuring quality. As bottles get older, the bottle-to-bottle variation is sure to widen. Some bottles will inevitably just die an early death. I always thought of reconditioning as a way of making sure that the bottle was sound, and replacing a possibly faulty closure with a new one to ensure that additional aging could be done with confidence.

it’s not the wine that needs improving, it’s the closure.

Wow, a lot of conventional wisdom in this thread. Why a recorked bottle with a bit of topping wine would need years to “recover” is a mystery to me. I guess if they’re dumping in a big aliquot of SO2 at the time, that could be a bit of a shock. Otherwise, I don’t see it.

SO2 addition is indeed part of the process.

I can’t explain why, but when I’ve had reconditioned bottles I always find they drink younger than they should and this is disappointing to me. If I open something with 30, 40, 50 years of age on it I want an aged profile not something that smells/tastes younger than 10 years. This dumb phase due to younger wine being added or additional SO2 are interesting ideas.