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Tips on Identifying a Defective Bottle of Wine

It’s bound to happen. Sometime during your wine tasting career, you will run across a defective bottle of wine.

If you are dining in a restaurant – immediately return it for another bottle (now you know why they ask you to test the wine first). If it’s your own winemaking cellar, remove it. We don’t even recommend that you save it for cooking.

A bad bottle of wine – is just that – a bad bottle of wine.

There are four things that constitute defects in a bottle of wine…

Corked – A wine is said to be ‘corked’ when it has come in contact with a contaminated cork during the aging process.  The wine may smell like a wet basement: mouldy, nasty and not at all enticing to the taster. On the palate, it will be astringent, lacking in fruit, with a raspy finish. Sometimes you may even notice a paint-thinner quality.

Oxidized – Oxygen is wine’s invisible enemy, and when a wine gets exposed to air, it becomes ‘oxidized’. The result is flat, lifeless wine that loses its vibrant fruit scents – it may remind you of vinegar. Upon careful examination you may notice a certain dullness in the color. In whites, it can be light to dark yellow or even brownish.

Maderized – When one says a wine is ‘ma! derized’, it has been literally baked. It actually tastes like Madeira and is reminiscent of almonds and candied fruits — admirable qualities in dessert wines but unacceptable in dry wines. You may also notice, in the unopened bottle, that the cork is pushed partly out of the neck (due to expansion).

Refermented – Occasionally, some residual, dormant yeasts will wake up, and a wine will undergo a second fermentation after it has been released and shipped. This manifests itself as effervescence, or fizziness, on the tongue.

Fortunately, it’s not that often in a winemaking career that you cross a defective bottle of wine!

With information from The Sommelier New York.

The Wine Butler would like to remind all it’s customers, to always drink responsibly.