I realize this question is a bit like asking a doctor to diagnose your ailment over the phone. You can't taste the wine, so you'll never really know, but anyway...
I opened a bottle of 2003 Monastrell from Casa de la Ermita. Actually, it was branded as their less expensive line, I don't remember exactly what they call it. Cost $11. I have had the slightly more expensive $13-$15 botttles a few years ago, they are one of my favorites ever. If I recall correctly, they got some wine mag press back then as well. I had also had the cheaper bottle in the past, it was good, but not as great.
So I bought the bottle in question 2 weeks ago from the only serious independent wine store in town. When I opened it, the cork was stained. The wine had a pronounced brown "edge" in the glass. It tasted OK as I begin to sip, but the finish was hot and harsh and unpleasant. I'm completely inarticulate w/ wine descriptors, sorry. I tasted it again a little later and decided it just wasn't worth drinking.
Since I knew I had liked the wine in the past, I decided to shove the cork back in and take it back to the wine store to ask them to taste it and tell me how one describes what is wrong with the wine. I did not ask for money back or imply fault. The wine guy (I think he's part owner, not sure) refused to taste it until it had time to warm up (it was cold that morning and had been in my car for a few hours) I bought another(different) bottle before I left, there was no discussion of any monetary adjustment. When I called him later he said...
"There's nothing wrong with the wine, it's mature."
"You mean past it's prime?"
"No, I think it's AT it's prime."
"So this is how you think it should taste?"
"yes. I could give you another bottle, but I think they will all be like this one."
I declined the offer. So, am I just palate challenged and can't appreciate older wine? Was it stored poorly? Is it just not a good enough bottle of wine to stand a few years of age? I opened a bottle of 2001 Mondavi Oakville Cab ($30) the next weekend and it was very nice.
What do you think?