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Jul 7, 2014 11:16 PM

Champagne: is it ruined?

I drove down to LA with my wife for July 4th weekend with a vintage and rather pricey bottle of DP in tow. For whatever reason, we didn't get around to opening it up. We drove back to San Francisco this afternoon and my wife left the bottle in the trunk (unbeknownst to me!) for the entire trip. It was roughly 85-90c as we blew down the I-5. I just pulled everything out of the trunk and discovered the bottle. It's past 10pm right now and the glass is still warm. I assume the champagne itself must have been boiling in the trunk! Is this bottle toast or is there a chance it will still be good after chilling on ice? Is there any hope?

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  1. slow chill in the fridge (not a shock on ice) and if it is toast you've got some damn fine vinegar for a salad dressing.

    1. Drink it now. Wouldn't try to age it. Should be fine for immediate consumption. Cooked wine isn't going to be vinegar (oxidized).

      It's not like you're going to toss it without trying it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Porthos

        yes, it still needs to be tried.

      2. You might get lucky -- I've had wines survive seemingly abusive conditions and still be wonderful.

        1. Oliver, a couple of things . . . I grew up in LA, and even with global warming, LA *never* gets as warm as 85-90c. 85-90º F, sure, but centigrade??? ;^)

          OK, now on to the wine: Sunshine and Porthos are correct; you might get lucky. I have had some amazing wines that suffered through storage conditions (including heat) that *should* have "killed" the wine . . . and didn't.

          It will *not* be vinegar, however, and if it's off, don't use it in salad dressing -- it will be maderized, and basically good for nothing but the kitchen sink.

          6 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Thanks everyone for the advice and reassurance... and zin1953, oops you're right - I meant º F, of course! :)

            I'll keep fingers crossed and report back.

            1. re: zin1953

              LOL -- I didn't even catch the °C

              1. re: zin1953

                ok not vinegar, but still it shouldn't be simply chucked, you can almost always turn something 'turned' into something.

                1. re: hill food

                  funky champagne is would take a lot of work to make it into a good sauce....

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    the gloves are down, I like a good challenge... (smirk)

                    now I just need someone to give me a bottle of Dom P gone bad (or still good and I can take it from there)

                    1. re: hill food

                      LOL....oh, let's try this one -- Nope, it's still good. Let's drink it.

                      Here's another one *pop* Yep, it's still good. Have to drink this one too....

                      Thish....thishhhh shteeel gud. Lessdrinkit.

                      etc., etc., etc.

              2. The temperature in your car trunk gets MUCH hotter than the outside temp. You will be lucky if your DP is still tasty.

                Of course, I would chill it and give it a try. But you might want some kind of backup, because the odds are not with you.

                For the future, NEVER travel with wine in the trunk of your car unless it's in a cooler. The risks are too great.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ChefJune

                  We stopped at Langer's for a couple of hours and my wife stuck it in the trunk because it's not the best neighborhood to leave an expensive bottle of champagne out in plain view. I didn't realize of course and would have either taken it inside with us or stuck it underneath the seat. Unfortunately she left it in there for the entire 7-hour drive. It must have been boiling as we wound through the hills in the Grapevine! Even if it miraculously turns out to be OK the odds are it'll be mostly flat and the fine bubbles will have been spoiled. I'm crossing my fingers but not expecting much. I wonder if it makes any difference whether we let it sit at room temperature for a few weeks or just pop it in the fridge to slow chill tomorrow and give it a try?

                  1. re: OliverB

                    We'll have to look into the Langer's corkage policy. In the meantime, Slainte' . . .

                    1. re: OliverB

                      I'm betting the bubbles will be there. Chill in fridge now and pop soon. Letting it sit around in room temp isn't going to reverse any damage. Any damage that may have occurred has occurred. If anything is damaged, it would be the taste like less acid, stewed fruit, maybe flat in taste but not flat in bubbles and not vinegar.

                      If off, I would personally still cook with it. Use it in any recipe that uses white white (linguine vongole, chicken or rabbit with leeks and mushroom in white wine, bolognese, etc). Cooking with wine raises wine to those temperatures anyways so it's not much different than taking an undamaged bottle and cooking with it.

                      1. re: OliverB

                        OliverB: please just do it sooner and release the suspense and stress! ;)

                        It's JUST a bottle of wine, after all.....

                        and Porthos is right -- you can still cook with it!