Quick Recipes and Easy

Can I Return this Bottle of Wine?

How do you tell if a wine is defected or if it simply tastes horrible? Luckily, we can identify a defected bottle from its color and aroma, even before tasting it. Look out for the following:

(1) Appearance

Cloudy wine hints bacteria spoilage. The wine should be clear. There might be deposits (known as sediments) which are normal and provide no indication of their quality. Certainly return all cloudy wines!

Tints of brown. The color of the wine reflects its development. Oxidized wine (aged too long or exposed to oxygen) has tints of reddish-brown or amber-tawny for white wines.

If the cork is cracked, or penetrated by wine, the wine is most likely hurt.

(2) Besides getting a solid sniff at the bottle, check for 3 smells that indicate potential defects:

Smell of moldy, musty smell of mushrooms or damped earth. This is caused by the Trichloronisole (TCA) in a corked wine. The smell might worsen with exposure to air.
Smell of vinegar or sherry. This would indicate high level of volatile acidity and oxidation.
Smell of rotten-eggs. These are caused by excessive hydrogen sulfide formed during the fermentation process. Though unpleasant, the wine is drinkable.

Often, the wine will smell of burnt-matches when uncorked. This is the smell of sulphur dioxide, which was added in the bottling process to keep the wine fresh. There is no need to return the wine. The smell will go away after a few minutes.

(3)Taste:
An oxidized wine is flat and tastes like sherry / vinegar.

Certainly smell and taste the wine before going along with it at a restaurant. Statistics has it that one in 30 bottles of wines in the past 10 years are corked. Wine experts believe the statistics can be as high as one in every 10 bottles for aged wines.

Kendra Kinney is a key contributor to BetterTastingWine — bettertastingwine.com bettertastingwine.com — a nonprofit website dedicated to helping our community better know and delight in wine. For various wine lessons, practical wine tips, and useful wine tools, visit us at bettertastingwine.com bettertastingwine.com



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