HOME > Chowhound > Wine >


Expired wine question?

hi all

would these wines still be drinkable:

geyser peak cab 2005

concannon merlot 2003

sonona county merlot 2003

all CA wines...

i know they arent the *greatest* wines, but i have access to cases of it free if its worth it...


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Do you have any idea how they've been stored? Air conditioning? Someone's garage? An warehouse subject to the climate?

    3 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      they have been in a liquor store this whole time, they brought cases and cases to the dump assuming they were bad. ??? i thought that was nuts

      1. re: niccole

        Biggest enemies for wine: light, motion, and heat-- especially temperature that changes a lot.

        If it was stored in closed bottles, rarely or never disturbed, and stored at controlled, constant temperatures, maybe. None of those are particularly high-end labels, so I wouldn't hold out a huge amount of hope, but perhaps.

        If it was shuffled around an non-climate-controlled warehouse in opened boxes? It's not even worth vinegar.

        And if it's been sitting outside in the light getting warm at the junkyard? Bleh. Let it lie.

        Mostly -- you're really going to salvage wine from the county dump? C'mon -- you're better than that.

        1. re: sunshine842

          hahaha i hear ya. i intercepted it first, i didnt salvage it from the dump, im not that bad. thanks for the info :)

    2. The cab is obviously your best shot as it's the youngest of the bunch and Cab Sauv tends to age better than many other grapes.

      As an aside, I've read that the Tempranillo grape has inherently one of the best aging potentials.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

        *IF* it's been reasonably well cared-for.

        A wine shop/liquor store that loses that many cases of inexpensive wine for that many years doesn't really instill a lot of trust.

      2. Why can't you just sample a bottle of each?

        1. All of them could be just fine if they've been stored reasonably well. If you have can,just give them a try. If it were me, and the wine were free, I'd go for it...... unless I had good reason to believe they'd been warehoused in the sun at 90+ degrees.

          BTW... "Sonoma County Merlot" is not a specific winery, as are Geyser Peak and Concannon. Sonoma County is an appellation, or origin of the fruit.

          Have fun!!!!

          1. If you have come this far from saving them from the dump...might as well open them :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              I agree completely.

              Just have backups handy!


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                i will try them for sure! what the hell, right?

                1. re: niccole


                  I have "found" orphan bottles in my cellar, and dredge them out - but always have backups!



            2. Did the liquor store assume they were bad due to storage reasons? Perhaps a string of returns due to oxidized/heat damaged wines?

              Or did they just look at the vintages and proclaim them "old"? 'Cause those are babies. Most cabs, merlots and Bordeaux blends aren't even ready to drink at such a youthful age, much less over the hill.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                Ricardo: I didn't see the word "store" mentioned in the OP.
                But I DID see this: "i have access to cases of it free"
                Maybe niccole can share access?

                1. re: RicRios

                  It wasn't in the original post, but in her first response to my question:

                  they have been in a liquor store this whole time,

                2. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                  ". Most cabs, merlots and Bordeaux blends aren't even ready to drink at such a youthful age"

                  These wines are 7-9 years old. I would have to disagree and say that most cabs, merlots and Bordeaux are indeed ready to drink by such age. I'm not saying all, although I think a case could be made for that blanket statement, at this point "ready to drink" being undefined in this discussion.

                  Certainly the last dozen or more bottles of these varietals/types I have drunk have been younger than this and eminently drinkable. This includes both Merlot and Cab based Bordeaux and CalCab and blends.. Just had an '09 Chateau Panchille, a Bordeaux Superior, two days ago. To paraphrase the famous dog/cat/hot dog scene performed by Abott & Costello and the Stooges among many others "Nothing wrong with that meat."

                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    but these aren't Bordeaux carefully tended from bloom to press...it's industrial-production grocery-store calibre wines, stored under questionable conditions...

                    ...they might be drinkable, but that's about all.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Yes, exactly. These are really cheap-o wines. Likely not "agers" in the best of prov. but it never hurts to try them, especially if you rescued them from the dump. I actually think it kinda funny that there is even a post about it. Just pop them and try them. No brainer. If they suck....pour them down the drain...no loss, no foul.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Agree completely, and then, much depends on the drinker's palate, and their tastes.

                        I would be a tad surprised if they were really good wines.


                      2. re: FrankJBN

                        Based on the wines listed, I would agree with you.

                        The ability to age, and "improve," depends on both the wines, and on the storage conditions. That can also depend on the exact vintage too.

                        Then, much will depend on the individual drinker - do they enjoy an aged (properly) Cab, Merlot, or Bdx. Blend? Maybe yes, but maybe no.

                        In truth, it is totally impossible to say, without a lot more info, and then the preferences of the individual palate.

                        Might be OK, might be great, or might be "way over the hill." It just depends.


                        PS - have backups handy!

                    2. But the mystery of wine is that you never know until you open it.

                      I found a 1981 Clos du Bois Late Harvest Gewurtz at a garage sale. Bought it for fifty cents. It was sublime but vanished after a few sips. An absolute treat. Of course it was a late harvest but I had no idea how it had been stored.