Top 5 Wine Faults and Flaws and How to Manage Them | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Top 5 Wine Faults and Flaws and How to Manage Them

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For the wine lovers, you might have one time order your favorite wine only to be hit by an unusual scent, or it comes in unfamiliar texture. In most cases, that's a faulty wine.

Here are some of the most common wine faults and how to handle them:

1. 2,4,6 – Trichloroanisole (TCA)

Also known as cork taint, TCA is caused when the natural cork closure interacts with other organic elements in the wine. The wood preservative reacts with the organic components to form chlorine. Even though not deadly, TCA comes with a lousy odor similar to a wet newspaper or a moldy basement.

Given that the effect runs from the cork, the fault affects a whole batch instead of a single bottle. The technological advancements in winemaking have seen reduce cases of TCA in recent times. The only way to solve a TCA is by returning the bottle.

2. Reduction

To stabilize wines, most producers include a touch of sulfur. The issue comes in when the compounds come into contact with other air elements to make dihydrogen sulfide (H2S). The H2S comes with a striking odor od rotten eggs or overcooked cabbages and garlic. This is unlike the great aroma the compound provides in its natural state.

Reduction is not a concern in a small capacity. Let the Gold medal wine settle for around 20 minutes after opening the bottle. The other option is to decant the wine or stir using a silver. If all the options don’t work, then the only option is to return the bottle.

3. Oxidation

While wines need oxygen during the making process, too much air leads to oxidation. The air leads to the loss of vibrancy, color, and taste. Oxidation is the most common wine fault as you can still experience it when you leave the wine bottle open for long.

One of the easiest ways to prevent oxidation is by topping up the wine bottle such that no air enters the wine. Otherwise, once the wine is oxidized, there is not so much you can do about it.

While managing oxidation, do not lock all the air out as that can lead to a reduction.

4. Heat Damage

Continuous exposure to too much heat has detrimental effects on wines. The heat alters the sensory quality of the wine and its ability to age. The weather can also cause chemical reactions, and you can also experience leaking bottles. The heat also makes the wine susceptible to reduction as it can prematurely release the sulfur compounds. The open space for leaking, on the other hand, might cause oxidation.

A heat-damaged wine comes with a cooked tasted of brown sugar.

Once your wine is damaged, you cannot restore it to the previous state. To ensure your wine lasts and age seamlessly, be mindful of your storage space. The ideal storage temperature is below 55°C.

5. Bacterial Damage

The winemaking process involves several bacteria responsible for taste, color, and maturity. While these bacteria are all codependent, the issue arises when one becomes aggressive.

The presence of bacteria damage in wine is evident in the smell. An unnatural odor from the wine is mostly caused by an over-productive microbial.

Like in heat damage and oxidation, there is nothing you can do to reclaim your bacteria damaged wine.

In Conclusion

The winemaking process is quite rigorous. It involves several steps, ingredients, and the right temperature. Any change of the required condition comes with faults and flaws. For the case of a reversible defect, proceed to work on it. Otherwise, for irreversible defects, you either count your losses or return the bottle.

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