Consider this 60-second alert your “flaw flash warning.” After you take our pop quiz, you’ll be able to sniff out a problem wine.
True or False? A wine is flawed if it smells like:
C) wet, musty cardboard?
D) cat pee?
E) rotten eggs?
G) nail polish?
Okay genius, here’s the skinny:
If your sniffer picks up band-aid, wet cardboard, rotten eggs or nail polish, you’ve got a flaw on your hands. The other aromas listed, odd as they seem, are actually respectable in the wine world.
Now you’re all set to be a charmer when you order wine in a restaurant, thanks to this 60-second sip.
For those who have another minute to spare, here’s the detailed answer key:
A) True. The smell of band-aids is a flaw. (It’s caused by temperamental wild yeasts known as Brettanomyces often called Brett.)
B) False. The smell of barnyard isn’t a flaw, and is a beloved aroma in many pinot noirs.
C) True. The smell of wet, musty cardboard is a flaw. (TCA is primarily responsible for cork taint. For the curious, TCA is the chemical structure 2,4,6-trichloroanisole.)
D) False. The smell of cat pee isn’t a flaw, and some consider it a lovely aroma in sauvignon blanc.
E) True. The smell of rotten eggs is a flaw. (It’s caused by volatile sulfur compounds.)
F) False. Many consider the smell of petroleum a lovely aroma in older rieslings.
G) True. The smell of nail polish is a flaw. (It’s caused by volatile acidity.)
Okay rock star, you stand protected. Now that you’ve trained your palate, a substandard wine never has to pass your lips.