Author: Lydia Afonso
Date created: 2016/03/14
Oxidized Wine …
- What it is: Contamination caused by too much oxygen exposure. You know when you leave a sliced apple out on the counter and it turns brown? It’s that same process but in your wine. Oxidization is the most common wine fault in older wines and is easy to replicate at home with any bottle of wine.
- How you can tell: Oxidized wines lose their brightness, both in color and in flavor. Bright reds turn to a brownish-orange color, and fresh tastes develop drier, more bitter characteristics. White wines are much more susceptible to oxidization than reds, because reds’ higher tannin levels act as a buffer. If you really want to see what this looks like: open a new bottle, pour a glass and save that bottle for about a week. Congrats, your bottle is ruined. Drink some and compare it to that first glass you had.
- Can I fix it? No, but you can prolong the shelf life of opened wine by using a wine preserving tool. If your bottle is oxidized right off the shelf, it was either had a faulty closure or mishandled. Take it back!
2,4,6-Trichloroanisole (TCA) …aka cork taint
- What it is: A chemical containment that found its way into your bottle somewhere in production, usually from real cork. TCA can be present in oak barrels, or the processing lines at the winery as well, which leads to entire batches, rather than single bottles, being ruined.
- How you can tell: Dank odor and taste like wet newspaper, moldy basement or smelly dog. The wine will be fruitless and dominated by the off flavors. Some estimates have placed TCA-affected wines as high as 2% of all wines bottled under real cork, making it the second most common wine fault.
- Can I fix it? Andrew Waterhouse, professor of wine chemistry at the UC Davis, claims you can pour the wine into a bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap. The TCA will be attracted to the polyethylene and pulled from your wine. I say life is too short for fixing wine faults. Send that bottle back!
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