Can A Cheap Wine Become a GREAT Wine?

Last week, being low on funds, I purchased a bottle of a generic “jug wine” cabernet. I paid about $8.00 for a full liter, so this was no estate vintage. Anyway, last night we had steak for dinner, so I opened the bottle. When I poured the wine, it was cloudy-imagine my surprise, when the wine turned out to be a very respectable port! Is such a thing possible-let’s say this wine sat on a shelf for years, exposed to light and heat-can a not-so-great cabernet transform itself into a port wine? Anyway, this stuff is good! I’m going to buy a few more bottles!

Portugal has spent a good deal of its history defending what constitutes a ‘real’ port wine from cheaper knock-offs. A Portuguese would probably take major exception to the notion of an $8 bottle of jug wine turning into a Port.

Remember, it’s not so much the processing that makes a wine what it is but rather the grape it is made from. Since certain grapes grow better in certain regions you get Bordeaux, Rhine, Port, Champagne, etc., which denote where the wines originated. After the grape is the process to make the wine into its final form but the grape is usually the defining factor of a wine.

So the answer to your question is no…at least to any oenophile. That said if you like it then I say more power to ya. Enjoy!

One other thing…books exist that tell you how and/or what wines to buy today for cheap, how long to store them in your basement (usually a few years) and then bring up a ‘great’ bottle of wine. In this fashion you could buy a $12 bottle and have an $80 bottle in several years if you stored it properly.

Ah, definitely not “proper amount of heat” unless you mean “proper lack of heat.”

I have the pleasure of living down the street from a home brewing shop. There is a point when leaving a bottle of something sitting around isn’t going to change anything…the ratio of alcohol to water is too high to support further fermentation, anf the flavor can only “seep” so much.

I suggest a nice mead over cheap wine, if you’ve got a good two years worth of patience and a cool basement.

True port wines are fortified with a small amount of brandy, which gives them a higher alcohol content than regular reds. This would not happen to your cabernet, no matter how long you left it around.

However, American table wines are better than they used to be, so it’s not impossible to get a respectable liter of wine for $8.00.

To add to the original post, it indeed sounds improbable. but, my glass had a lot of sediment in it (characteristic of ports). And, as i stated, the wine was cloudy, not clear as a cabernet would be. And, it tasted liema port-sweet, with a raisin-ish finish. I agree, it is impossible for a second fermentation to take place in a bottle-but, this stuff tasted like port!
I intend to buy another bottle, and see if the taste is the same!

Who was the vitner? Brand name? Care to share?

What you bought was a bottle of madierized wine. It happens when a bottle of wine is stored improperly, and it oxidizes–which gave you that sweet, raisin-ish flavor that is characteristic of madieras and ports. Madierized wines will be brackish–having a brownish tinge to the wine and throwing a lot of sediment–which sounds like what you had.

Even though it is possible that another bottle of the same wine may have the same properties, but that is only if it was stored the same way and for the same amount of time.