How to Determine if a Wine is Flawed
This is one of the most difficult areas of wine to navigate. Many wine flaws are easy to recognize while others are subtle and identifying them requires experience. In some cases, what initially may appear to be a flaw is actually a quality that enhances a wine’s complexity, unless it’s present in excess. As always, degree and proportion are crucial in assessing a wine’s overall character.
Older wines made for cellaring naturally become darker as they age. However, dark tones, especially in younger wines can also indicate that a wine has become oxidized, ruining its flavor:
Identifying Wine Flaws
The following are the most common wine flaws, along with the aroma profiles that can identify them and their potential causes. It's important to note that sometimes, a small amount of "brett" or oxidation can add to a wine's complexity and is then not a fault in the wine.
Ullaged barrels or tanks, damaged fruit, poor storage conditions
May afflict any wine and cause a sharp, hot taste. This is the most comm on volatile acid in young wines.
Low S02, low acidity, poor storage or poor winery hygiene.
Prevalent among reds. Can benefit a wine's complexity if subtle.
Excessive heat dun ng storage or transportation
Can affect any wine.
Nail Polish Remover
Ullaged barrels or tanks, damaged fruit, poor storage conditions.
Can affect all wines, though it is acceptable in reds at low levels and is not considered a fault in botrytis wine styles.
Sherry, Brown Apple
Low sulfur dioxide and high dissolved oxygen at bottling or faulty cork.
All, particularly light-bodied whites. Can benefit a wine's complexity if subtle
Boiled Eggs, Garlic, Burnt Rubber
Lack of amino acids at fermentation.
All, particularly reds.
Excessive addition of sulfur dioxide, particularly at bottling.
Most prevalent in whites, particularly light-bodied.
[ courtesy of Kobrand Fine Wines and Spirits ]
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