So I sat down last night to review a few different wines from Standing Stone Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It’s a well-known producer and I’ve enjoyed both their dry vidal and vidal ice wine in the past.

Then I opened my only bottle of their 2003 Pinot Noir ($26).

As I slipped the capsule off, I was surprised to see a synthetic cork. In my experience, few wineries use them on a wine over $15 dollars — particularly not one that should have some cellar worthiness. So I extract the cork and pour…

Something is definitely wrong here. Instead of the Pinot Noir ruby beauty I expected, I was greeted with rusty, unappealing brick red. Definitely some browning…and in a wine this young, that is not a good thing. The nose was completely devoid of any fruit…just stale, musty aromas with a little wild mushroom. It was truly undrinkable.

I’m not a huge fan of Finger Lakes reds, but the ones that I’ve liked best have been pinot noir. I had high hopes for this one. Why would you use a synthetic cork on a wine like this? Why?