Snooth Blog

Snooth User: Mark Angelillo

It Might Be Your Fault

Posted by Mark Angelillo, May 20, 2008.

This post in Snooth Talk encouraged me to read up a bit more about wine faults . What caught my attention most in the Wikipedia article was the mention of how most faults are incorrectly pegged as cork taint. I realized that every time I detected an off-bottle I did attribute it to TCA. Incidentally, before I knew wine could be faulted I used to drink every wine, and I amuse myself thinking about how many bottles of faulty wine I might have consumed, simply thinking that it was a poor quality wine or not even noticing. Next time I find an off bottle I'm going to try and do a bit more sleuthing. The two "other" faults that I want to point out here are Light Strike and Cooked Wine.

Light Strike has the coolest name by far. When a wine bottle is exposed to excessive amounts of UV light it can become damaged, tasting of wet wool or wet cardboard. This is usually how I hear a corked wine described, but there's an extra piece to the TCA which for me is usually a moldy taste and aroma. Wine that is bottled in green or brown glass and red wine is less likely to be afflicted with Light Strike.

A wine becomes cooked if it is exposed to high temperatures. Cooked wine becomes lifeless at a low level, but also will age faster. This doesn't mean that you can expose your fine Bordeaux wines to heat and speed up their aging to drink them for your party next week. Aging faster is going to mean a less graceful aging process. Think of that friend that looks like he aged 10 years in 2 years. That's not a pleasant thought.

Why do I point out these particular faults? Once you have the bottle of wine in your possession, it's your turn to take care of it. If you store it outside or in a hot car you're asking for a faulty bottle. By the way, there are some great suggestions in Talk if you're in the market for a wine fridge . Then at least it wouldn't be your fault.

Replies

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 20, 2008.

Nifty and timely post with summer just around the corner.

I'd never heard the term "Light Strike," but its useful. I wonder how many of these bottles get labeled as corked when, instead, they were stored badly.

As far as Cooked Wine goes, wine is pretty resilient to heat when its only exposed to it for short periods of time. You do not need to outfit your car with a wine cooler or walk around with a thermos bag to go wine shopping in the summer.

Anyone interested in trying to cause these faults and then trying the wines?

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Reply by Philip James, May 20, 2008.

I didnt know Light Strike had a similar taste profile to a corked wine, but thats interesting to know. The thing with wine faults is that some of them may be somewhat intended in some bottles, but not in others, and some are potentially desirable: any secondary fermentation, for example, or even oxidation may be a deliberate part of the winemaking / aging.

The one, non-corked, but common, fault that causes me to tip wines down the drain is Mercaptins, which to me comes across as a very jarring clinical rubber note that i cant stand. Generally causes by not racking a wine properly.

Rodolphe - How do you intend on doing this? I tipped a bottle of Massaya down the drain last weekend as it was ripe with volatile acidity, but I dont really want to sit at home shining UV beams at my meager collection.

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 20, 2008.

3 bottles of "delicate" wine.

The First gets the wine cooler treatment
The Second gets the light strike treatment (find a window in full sun - but not very hot in a temperature sense (I'm thinking Philip's apartment could work here)
The final one gets stored in a black watertight box on the roof of the office (no light, lots of heat, I guess) or some other hot, nasty place.
At the end of August we taste all 3.

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Reply by oceank8, May 20, 2008.

Sounds like a great experiment.
I had a half case of wine cook on me once and that is when I went and bought a wine fridge (40 bottles), I soon outgrew that one and replaced it with two 50 bottle fridges, now I have outgrown these! Is there anyone else out there that finds they are constantly buying more wine than they are able to store? I currently have two cases worth sitting in my dining room, I am so afraid they are going to get ruined with our current heat stroke but can't figure out what to with them (besides getting really drunk one night).

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 20, 2008.

Ocean - where do you live and what kind of conditions do you have in said dining room? You might not need to put ALL your reds in a wine fridge

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Reply by oceank8, May 21, 2008.

I live in southern california, Temecula Valley if you've heard of our small wine region, but it gets pretty hot here. I try to leave my AC between 78-80 degrees but when my bill gets up to $700, I try to turn it off at night. The dining room doesn't get much light so I figure it is a cooler place.

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Reply by Mark Angelillo, May 21, 2008.

RBoulanger -- great idea. I'll scare up a few bottles of inexpensive white wine in clear glass and we'll give this a go.

It would be great to see how the colored glass would effect the same wine but without the intervention of a winery (or Crushpad) I can't see how to go about this.

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Reply by John Andrews, May 21, 2008.

@ocean ... many of my friends ask me for recommendations on how big of a wine fridge/cellar they should get. My answer to them is always this ... how much wine do you want to keep on hand? It doesn't seem to matter how big your wine fridge/cellar is, people tend to fill it up. I really wish I could get one of these:

http://www.monogram.com/products/wi...

I have no place to ... errr ... put it.

As for heat ... I've found in my loft, even when the temprature inside is 75 that my red wines are fine as long as I keep them out of direct sunlight.

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Reply by Philip James, May 21, 2008.

Oooh, Honda, we may very well have a surprise for a lucky Snoother, perhaps you, rather soon. Its not quite the size of the GE monster, but its still pretty special.

OK, i've said too much. Back to biding my time for the real announcement...

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Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, May 21, 2008.

ocean - Invest in a 5 dollar thermometer at a pet store to and put it with your wine in the dining room. So long as its below 80, you can keep some reds there as Honda says and start saving for the GE vault!

(http://www.petsmart.com/product/ind...)

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Reply by John Andrews, May 21, 2008.

Ohhhhh ... prizes ... I love prizes. :-)

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Reply by oceank8, May 21, 2008.

Thanks for the advice! Can't wait until I can afford to turn my coat closet into a wine cellar. That vault is cool.

Also, my interest is peeked. I want to know what HondaJohn's prize is.

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Reply by Philip James, May 21, 2008.

sorry, its not necessarily for Honda, just a lucky snoother...

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Reply by John Andrews, May 21, 2008.

hahahhahahhaha ... yes, there is probably someone else that is more deserving. :-)

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Reply by oceank8, May 22, 2008.

OOOOH, now we can all be excited about prizes!


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