The Seven Most Basic Wine Flaws

Learning about wine can be a lifelong journey. With a beautiful aromatic heady lovely relaxing companion like wine, it is easy to enjoy the learning that we gain while exploring this personality called wine. We need to take care of wine correctly;

we need to be knowledgeable enough about wine to know which kind we should buy and from where. And now it is now time to upgrade our knowledge and learn about the different types of wine flaws.

Aha!! !! Don’t wonder if you read that last line properly! This lovely lively personality does have its fair share of wine flaws too.

Don’t lose heart! Some of these wine flaws add a touch of class to the wine that we love to sip. Some people seem to love just the right touch of a wine flaw in the glass that they are holding in their hands.​

Here is a list of wine flaws. These are the most common wine flaws that any wine beginner can quickly identify. All you need is a little expert help from blogs like ours.

Top Wine Flaws

Wine flaw 1: Brett in your wine?

Brett in your wine

We all know that yeast is the most crucial ingredient that helps in the process of fermentation of grapes. Brettanomyces (Brett) is a type of yeast that naturally gets attracted to wineries when the wine is being treated.

They are akin to the phenols that are crucial flavor imparting elements that constitute red wine.

Brett manages to infuse earthy aromas to the wines while they are being processed. It is certainly not so easy to identify wine flaws like Brett. It blends so beautifully with the other flavors and aromas of the wine that some people love a tinge of Brett in their wine.

Some wineries feel it is such a natural element that adds to the flavor and aroma of the wine that it would be a crime to label it as a wine flaw. They prefer to develop the quality of the wine with an infusion of Brett rather than try to eliminate this wine flaw.

How to identify wine flaws like these: A distinct smell of Band-aid or the barnyard is a sure sign of Brett. About 25% of Brett infused wines will give the wine a good robust flavor of meat, bacon, leather, flowers or fruits.

We can rightly classify the remaining 75% of Brett infused wines as real wine flaws because they can add a ‘yucky’ note of rotten meat, sewer gas, dog poop and burnt beans to the wine.

The foul smell, aroma, and flavor are easily discernable to wine beginners too. Perhaps wine beginners will immediately sense that something is wrong with the wine that they are shipping……after reading our blog –they will be able to identify the wine flow correctly!

Wine flaw 2: Cooked Wine anyone!

Wine needs to be taken good care of! Period! Simple thing to comprehend folks! We don’t like overcooked food. Read boiled over coffee or brewed tea! Yikes…….who would like to drink that??

Wine is heady, luscious, fruity, wealthy and ripe in taste. But expose it to its wine enemies like heat, and you will get the flavor of cooked or stewed grapes in your wine. This wine flaw develops in the wine mostly during the transportation process. The wine may be loaded/docked on ships or aircraft or stored in the basement with some heating device parked right next to it.

This completely ruins the aroma, taste, and flavor of the wine and we can quickly identify this wine flaw by only taking a sip of this wine.

Most wineries take additional precautions to ensure that their good quality wine is not ruined by refraining from shipping their wines in summer.

Some wineries pack their wines with heat proof material which also gives an indication when the surrounding temperatures go above tolerance levels.

How to identify wine flaws like these: Often the heat causes the wine to expand – so the contents force the cork out of the bottle. Corks that are not so perfectly placed or that have wine streaks on them are sure signs of this wine flaw.

If the wine is only slightly affected by temperature fluctuations – we might be able to identify a raisin-like or jam like or stewed fruit like aroma in the wine.

Wine flaw 3: Corked!

This is a wine flaw that will make wine beginners question their choice or preference of wine. One of the most easily identifiable wine flaws, people will surely think twice before buying the same wine the next time. A corked wine fault will most certainly put them off the wine for a long time to come, and they will most certainly not recommend this bottle of wine to anyone else.

Wine bottles are corked. And when this natural cork reacts with a chemical called TCA (2, 4, 6, trichloroanisole) it will most certainly ruin the wine it comes in contact with. When the exposure is curbed to extremely low levels, it does not adversely affect the quality of the wine. But beyond this bare minimal level, it can contaminate entire barrels and bottling lines of wines in wineries.

How to identify wine flaws like these: Sniffing the cork will not help us detect this fault. Neither do little pieces of cork floating around the wine glass mean that the wine has a corked wine fault.

The best way to identify this wine fault is by sniffing the wine itself. We will immediately be able to determine the wet, musty, attic like slight news smell. Sometimes the wine will reek of wet cardboards or stink like a basement which has an abundance of mold in it.

Some people are instantly able to identify this wine flaw while others are not so profoundly affected by the slightly of fish wine. They know something is not quite right and as mentioned earlier – may not buy this wine the next time or sip on this wine again in the party!

Wine flaw 4: Oxidation

Fruits need to be eaten fresh. Cut an apple and leave it out in the open for a while and we bet no one will eat the apple unless the browned uppermost layer is removed.

The same phenomenon applies to wine too – though there is a good 50%- 50% chance that some wines will benefit when they are exposed to a little bit of air while others will be entirely ruined if left open and unattended to for even a short span of time.

Leave a bottle of Madeira or Sherry open for a while, and we can assure you that the quality of the wine will be greatly enhanced. Some older wines get appealingly transformed when a wee bit of oxygen is allowed to pass through the cork over an extended period.

But do the same thing to a bottle of young Sauvignon Blanc, and we might as well toss it into the trash can.

How to identify wine flaws like these: The visual appeal of the wine will immediately let us know that the wine has lost its zest. Gorgeous deep red wine will turn into dull dark brick red or brown. White wine will get a tinge of amber or look golden brown. White wines will start getting an aroma of apple cider or sherry, and red wines will smell flat and often gain a caramel like quality.

Wine flaw 5: Reduction

The exact antonym of oxidation – this wine fault indicates that the wine has not been given sufficient exposure to oxygen while it was being processed. Perhaps it was improperly stored in a cellar, or the bottle was not aged correctly. Often most wineries resort to reduction techniques because they want to combat the flaws created due to oxidation.

How to identify wine flaws like these: The wine will give off a foul stench of sulfur or burnt rubber or rotten eggs.

Decanting and aerating the wine can help enhance the quality. Dropping a small piece of copper into the wine before we try sipping on it may be of great help. The copper reacts with the molecules of sulfur thus reducing the impact on our noses and tongues.

The exact antonym of oxidation – this wine fault indicates that the wine has not been given sufficient exposure to oxygen while it was being processed. Perhaps it was improperly stored in a cellar, or the bottle was not aged correctly. Often most wineries resort to reduction techniques because they want to combat the flaws created due to oxidation.

How to identify wine flaws like these: The wine will give off a foul stench of sulfur or burnt rubber or rotten eggs.

Decanting and aerating the wine can help enhance the quality. Dropping a small piece of copper into the wine before we try sipping on it may be of great help. The copper reacts with the molecules of sulfur thus reducing the impact on our noses and tongues.

Wine flaw 6: Volatile acid

Acetic acid or vinegar is a by-product but an integral component of wine. When the bacteria in the wine are limited to minuscule quantities, it does not pose a problem. But sometimes the bacteria are virulent, and this generates a lot of volatile acids which damages the quality of the wine completely.

How to identify wine flaws like these: We all love looking at the wine first and then smelling the wine to get a whiff of all the infused aromas. When we get a sharp, tangy smell of vinegar or acetone – we can rightly infer that the wine is bound to taste like vinegar too.

NOTE: That list of wine flaws just helps us identify the most common wine flaws. There are several kinds of wines all around the world. So there are bound to be several kinds of wine flaws too. But equipped this basic knowledge about wine flaws, we can continue to enhance our learning about wine.

Friendly wine flaw 7

We often store our good wines in the refrigerator for a couple of days. We will be perplexed to find a few crystals at the bottom of the refrigerated wine bottle.

Time to chill and relax here! These crystals are generated when potassium and tartaric acid combine and get deposited at the bottom of the bottle. Both potassium and tartaric acid are natural components that make up a good wine.

Winemakers do their best to ensure the stability of their wines while they are refrigerated so that such crystals are not formed. But despite their best efforts this sometimes does happen.

Here is the best part of it. Even if it does happen – this is an entirely harmless flaw which will not adversely impact the taste of the wine in any way.

Hmm……so all wine flaws are not all wrong…….that is something that should cheer us up! How about opening that lovely bottle of wine in our wine coolers and raising a toast to our interesting article on wine flaws!! !!

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