We invited friends, relatives or colleagues for an important dinner and while we are preparing our table, we find that old but precious bottle of wine that we want to flaunt and enjoy it with them, but a big question hits us, will that wine be good or will it have gone off?
I don't know what the answer you are expecting is, but we must immediately say that, unfortunately, there is the possibility that the wine in an old and forgotten bottle is no longer good. Not that wine goes bad as a short-life food, it simply changes the organoleptic characteristics that make it appreciable.
At the base of this process, there may be many factors, such as poor storage in improper places, a failed bottling where the cork allows oxygen to get in, storage in too hot places, incorrect decanting, and so on.
In fact, in all these cases mentioned above, the contact of the wine with the air and therefore the consequent oxygenation produces acetic bacteria, called Acetobacter, which are the main responsible for the transformation of wine, with the deterioration of ethanol and the consequent acidity that makes tasting impossible.
But how do we recognize if a wine has actually gone bad and so is undrinkable?
• First of all, check the cork: if it looks damaged, dirty and wet of wine, or it seems intact but put too much out of the neck of the bottle, surely the wine is not good!
• Check always the color: if a red wine tends to brownish color, and the white is too yellow, almost "vin santo" color, the wine will not be drinkable!
• Smell the wine: the easier check even before the sight, if the wine smells of vinegar or mold or gives off other unpleasant odors, you have to throw away it!
• If you are brave enough to taste it and the taste is acidic, acetate, sulfur, I would say that it is not a characteristic of any type of wine, so it is definitely not to be drunk!
So, you just have to do a test by opening a bottle of wine and hoping you don't need it for your salad!