Wine, a delightful elixir, sometimes presents unexpected characteristics that deviate from its intended aroma, taste, or appearance. These deviations, often referred to as wine faults or flaws, arise from various factors in the wine-making process or storage conditions. At Triangle Wine Company, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to identify common wine faults, understand their causes, and navigate through the occasional imperfect bottle.
Cork Taint (TCA):
- One of the most common wine faults, cork taint, arises from a compound called TCA. It imparts a musty, wet cardboard aroma to the wine, masking its natural flavors.
- Oxidation occurs when wine is exposed to air for extended periods, leading to a loss of freshness, and in severe cases, a vinegary taste.
- The opposite of oxidation, reduction happens in the absence of oxygen. It can result in unpleasant odors like rotten eggs, though sometimes it can be reversible by aerating the wine.
- Volatile Acidity (VA):
- While some level of VA is natural, excessive amounts can lead to a sharp, vinegary aroma.
- Brettanomyces (Brett):
- A type of yeast, Brettanomyces, can impart barnyard or medicinal aromas to wine, which in small amounts may add complexity, but in higher concentrations can be off-putting.
- Heat Damage:
- Wines exposed to high temperatures may show signs of being cooked, with jammy, baked flavors and a lack of freshness.
- While not a fault, sediment can be unsettling to some drinkers. It's natural in aged red wines and can be avoided by decanting.
- Sulfur Compounds:
- Winemakers use sulfur to preserve wine, but excessive amounts can lead to a burnt match aroma, which can be unpleasant.
Understanding and identifying wine faults enhances your wine appreciation journey, helping you make informed choices.