The day after tomorrow

So here’s a thing. The next night I went back to the Shiraz Mataro, and it was terrible. Horrible. Really nasty. Now, I don’t have any fancy wine-preservation devices, having found that so long as you polish them off in good order wines don’t deteriorate that badly. It was sealed overnight with nothing but its own screw cap, but I hadn’t expected it to go downhill that badly.

So instead of drinking any more than I had to I opened a bottle of Otra Vida Malbec. Now this isn’t a great wine – after a quick look online I can only find it at Corking Wines at £6.69 a bottle, and I’m sure I didn’t pay that much for it – but it was an interestingly contrary experience. When I opened it I was unimpressed – too sweet for me, a bit too much dried fruity pruny stuff going on – but when I came back to that a day later it was transformed, much more serious and infinitely more drinkable.

So what’s going on here then? Surely you can’t judge a wine on how it tastes a day after you open it, in other words when it’s not at its best. But do good wines go off slower than bad ones? I know wines often improve with a bit of oxygenisation, but can half a bottle of wine really get better if left overnight? I’ve got another bottle of the Malbec lurking in the cellar – should I open it a day before I want to drink it? Should I decant it? Or should I just carry on in a cloud of vaguely confused ignorance? Who’s to know?

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