Wine Collection Cooked

It's a sure-fire recipe. For disaster.

Take one of the world's best wine collections, increase the heat from a constant 58 degrees to upwards of 120, then sit back and watch the fine wine turn to vinegar.

That's what happened to the wine cellar at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans, a victim of the Hurricane Katrina devastation. The cellar has held Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award since 1983, and its 85,000-bottle collections has been rated among the 85 best in the world.

No more. The collection of such stars as an 1870 Lafite Rothschild, various Chateau Moutons and Chateau Margauxs, and dozens of other high-ticket wines is history.

"They may be drinkable, but they're probably better for salads," Ted Brennan, whose brother Jimmy spent 35 years building the collection, told The Washington Post.

The two-story collection -- doemstics on the first floor, imports on the second -- is housed in a former carriage house of the 18th Century French Quarter mansion that is home to Brennan's. When power was lost during the storm, the climate controls were rendered ineffective.

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