Posts Tagged ‘white wines’

One of the most disappointing moments in life is opening up a bottle of wine and realizing that it’s spoiled. While it may seem trivial to consider such an occurrence as such a detrimental moment, you have to realize that we’re passionate about wine.

Besides, it’s embarrassing to return a bad bottle of wine at a restaurant. And, it’s frustrating when you find that perfect bottle, only to come home and discover you wasted your money. Remember, we’re talking about wine that has a default flavor profile, not ranting about wines that taste horrible. So, how exactly does a bottle of wine go bad? There are several factors that can explain so.

Oxidation

Perhaps the most common fault in wine is oxidation. This occurs when the wine is overexposed to oxygen, which is wine’s worst enemy. Oxidation will lead wine to lose it’s flavor, giving it a lifeless taste and resembling vinegar. Color will also be affected. White wines will appear darker and others will become cloudy.

Environmental Conditions

There are various environmental conditions that can ruin a bottle of wine. These can occur from the wine-making process to bottling to storage. Here’s a rundown of the most common environmental problems.

  • Tainted cork, or TCA, occurs when mold grows on a chlorine bleached cork, or even in the barrel. It creates an earthy, moldy and musty aroma that masks the wines natural fruit aromas.
  • Heat exposure, or maderized, happens when the wine is literally cooked. This is a result of in-proper storage, meaning the wine has spent an excessive amount of time above  55°F.Lightstrike can be a problem when a bottle of wine has been overexposed to UV radiation.
  • Ladybird taint can turn wine rancid when bugs, mostly beetles like ladybirds or Asian lady beetle, are harvested along with grapes.
  • Brettanomyces, or simply Brett, is simply yeast spoilage. Since this thrives on wood products, like barrels, we’ll go ahead and say that this is an environmental condition. Once a winery has been infected, it’s difficult to get rid of, since it can transfer from wood to wood. The result is a wine that tastes like a barnyard or wet dog.

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(Image courtesy from winecountrythisweek.com)

(Image courtesy from winecountrythisweek.com)

 

 

Why Wine Descriptions?
How do you buy wine when you don’t know what it tastes like? A lot of folks (including me) rely on reading wine descriptions to get an idea of what a wine will taste like. Wine writing is a business and its job is to SELL wine, not to be honest or accurate. Below is a list of common wine descriptions and what they actually mean.
Wine Descriptions Glossary

ACIDITY
Wines with high acidity are tart and zesty. Red wines generally have a lighter color and more tart characteristics (versus “round”). White wines are often described with characteristics similar to lemon or lime juice.
ANGULAR
An angular wine is like putting a triangle in your mouth – it hits you in specific places with high impact and not elsewhere. It’s like getting punched in the arm in the same place over and over again. An angular wine also has high acidity.
AUSTERE
This is a very unfriendly wine. It hits your mouth and then turns it inside out. It usually means the wine has very high acidity and very little fruit flavors. An austere wine is not fruit-forward nor opulent.
BARNYARD
This means the wine smells like poo. It’s never used anymore describing a wine, unless the wine writer is attempting to dig that wine an early grave.
BIG
Big describes a wine with massive flavor in your mouth that takes up all sections of your mouth and tongue. A big wine is not necessarily a fruit-forward wine, it can also mean that it has big tannins.
BRIGHT
Bright wines are higher in acidity and make your mouth water. GO TO ACIDITY
BUTTERY
A wine with buttery characteristics has been aged in oak and generally is rich and flat (less Acidity). A buttery wine often has a cream-like texture that hits the middle of your tongue almost like oil (or butter) and has a smooth finish.

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