How to Recognize a Good Wine | Wine Defects

How to Recognize a Good Wine | Wine Defects

esame olfattivo del vino

Have you ever heard the saying that it’s “flaws that make people beautiful”? Well unfortunately this concept is limited only to people, and not to a good bottle of wine. It’s true that your wine will be truly unforgettable if its taste or aroma is unpleasant, but it will be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. But thanks to modern technology in winemaking, defects in a wine are hard to come by, but wine tasters should still pay attention and try not to miss anything when it comes to the taste and smell of their wine.

We cannot deny that the vast majority of wine nowadays is limpid and crystalline, especially in products of normal quality, but defects which compromise appearance should now be long gone so you shouldn’t really find this problem all too often. If you happen to come across wines of this nature, you can be sure that there was a flaw in the winemaking procedure and you should politely decline to toast with any flawed wine.

We can safely say that the minimum requirements, even to the most amateur of wine tasters, is a total absence of opaqueness, which would reflect the alcohol or fermentation index. It is also best practice to have nothing at all floating in the wine. These are red flags for improper winemaking. Do not get confused with the sediments found at the bottom of a glass of a tannic red wine. This does not affect the quality of the wine and is perfectly normal. Once a wine decants for some time, all sediment should fall to the bottom of the glass and the liquid will again return to a non-opaque state.

The visual aspect of a wine can help us to establish how old (and drinkable) a wine is. If your wine is brownish in color, whether it is white or red, it is a clear signal that it has surpassed its drinking date and that perhaps you waited too long to open that special bottle or perhaps you’ve stored it improperly.

Let’s move on to defects in the aroma of a wine, which is much more frequent of an issue. The most common problem is when a wine smells of cork. This affects from 5% – 7% of wine on the market, and that is of course referring to bottles with corks. A wine with cork smell is irreparable. It is something like love – “you know it when you see it, but once you see it there is not doubt as to what it is.” A bad wine.

Other olfactory defects which are much rarer in nature, are caused by specific chemicals that can affect the aroma which the wine taster smells when putting the glass to their nose. It is important to understand that every person has a different threshold when it comes to “annoying smells” so not all “bad” smells should necessarily be classified as such. That’s the beauty of chemistry!

Odors and unpleasant flavors are usually confirmed by the palate so it is important to know what you are tasting. There are cases where a brave and attentive wine taster might find themselves tasting a bitter or tannic wine without having any indication of what tastes he should be looking for. Often times when a wine is too bitter or the tannins are too strong, it may be the carelessness of the wine taster who opened the bottle before its time – something like eating a piece of unripe fruit.

What the palate is actually looking for when drinking a glass of wine is a perfect balance of all elements of taste from acidity to alcohol. This lack of balance is what in essence constitutes a defect.

Another wine defect which can usually be recognized by more refined palates such as those of connoisseurs is the absence of quality, one that you cannot blame storage in the cellar entirely on. Factors which determine the quality of a wine are many – starting with the variety of grapes used to the weather conditions.

Lesson learned – perfection, in most cases, cannot be created artificially.