Monday, March 1, 2010
The problem with bin ends
Having crowed about my bargains on Saturday, yesterday brought me down to earth with a bump: the Cuilleron Marsanne was badly corked. There's nothing for it but to take it back to the shop and get it exchanged, a task which my longsuffering husband has offered to undertake.
Of course there's no compensation for his time and trouble but at least we should get a replacement bottle. Needless to say we haven't drunk any and stoppered the bottle straight away in case of argument.
It does underline one of the problems about buying bin ends in that they may be of uncertain quality. It's possible they're reduced simply because there were a couple of corked bottles in the batch or because they were over the hill. As I mentioned Marsanne is long-lived for a white so I was reasonably confident about buying a 2006, particularly from a good producer but it does underline why so many winemakers have moved to screwcap.
It's always best to drink a bin-end within a couple of weeks of purchase otherwise you may have a problem getting the store to accept responsibility. Admittedly that's harder if you buy in quantity: I tend to buy one first then buy a couple more if I like it though even that carries some risk as there can be variation from bottle to bottle.
You also need to be careful what you buy. Light wines such as crisp whites and rosés fade faster than more robust red wines so I wouldn't be inclined to pick up inexpensive wines from the 2007 vintage, say, or much older reds from the late '90s. There's a general belief that red wines only improve with age but that isn't the case.
It's also a good reason to avoid suspiciously cheap mixed cases which are usually made up of wines that have passed their peak.
What's been your experience with bin-ends? Have they proved good drinking or a disappointment?