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Wine Secrets
Become a Wine Expert.

Detecting Faulty Wine
The first means of detecting a faulty wine is with the eyes. Hazy or cloudy wine usually suggests a fault from bacterial contamination, but it can also mean disturbed sediment in a red wine with bottle age. If the haze is due to a flaw, the nose and flavor of the wine will be off, smelling either musty or overly yeasty.

Detecting Faulty Wine
Sugar-like crystals at the bottom of a glass of white wine do not indicate a flaw. This deposit is tartaric acid, which is found naturally in grapes and does not compromise the quality of a wine.These crystals are often caused simply from the wine being chilled after fermentation. It might also interest you to know that the cooking ingredient, cream of tartar, is made from the build up of tartaric acid scraped from the inside of used wine vats.

Detecting Faulty Wine
Small bubbles in a glass of still wine can mean one of two things: either the wine is flawed because it has refermented spontaneously in the bottle, which usually isn't good and the wine will have a rather strong aroma of apples and yeast, or the producer deliberately left some carbon dioxide in the bottle to help keep it fresh. In the latter case, you wouldn't find the strong yeasty aroma and there would be no need to worry.

Detecting Faulty Wine
Many wine faults are detected on the nose, and confirmed on the palate. The most common one is cork taint now formally called TCA, short for 2, 4, 6 Trichloroanisole, because it's found in all sorts of things from wood to tap water. If a wine is tainted with TCA or "corked" as they say, it will range from smelling like musty, old, wet socks to simply seeming stripped of its fruit aromas. Be wary of attributing a wine with lack of fruit to TCA though because this can come from a lot of things.To confirm TCA as the cause, look for the telltale musty smell.And then return the bottle.

Detecting Faulty Wine
TCA is more evident in sparkling wines than still ones because the carbon dioxide, which gives the wine its bubbles, also makes the taint compounds vaporize, making it more apparent in the aroma.

Detecting Faulty Wine
If you detect the smell of bandages, you're probably finding Brettanomyces, known as Brett, which is a wild yeast that can get into wine. This fault is thought to be on a steep rise because Brettanomyces proliferates in wine that is ripe, highly extracted, and relatively high in alcohol—an increasingly popular style of wine. Although strictly speaking, Brett is a wine flaw, most critics agree a bit of Brett on the nose and palate can enhance the overall flavor of the wine by adding an interesting nuance. Brett is often confused with the gamey characteristics of the Mourvèdre grape, which is found in many Rhône red wines.

Detecting Faulty Wine
Is there an unmistakable scent of geraniums wafting from your glass? This is also a wine fault caused by a chemical reaction in wine that had potassium sorbate added and has undergone malolactic fermentation during winemaking.

Detecting Faulty Wine
If you detect an aroma of rotten eggs on the nose, be sure, this is a wine fault. It is hydrogen sulphide you smell, which should have been thoroughly removed at the winery. However, dropping a copper coin in a glass of wine displaying this fault will remove the hydrogen sulphide.

Detecting Faulty Wine
Vinegary aromas mean a wine is past its best, has been open too long, or has been overly exposed to oxygen.

Detecting Faulty Wine
If a wine smells like a recently struck match, it has too much free sulphur swimming around in it and the wine is faulty.

  • American Wine - Wines of California
  • American Wine - Wines of New York State
  • American Wine - Wines of Oregon,Washington, and Idaho
  • Argentinean Wine
  • Australian Wine
  • Austrian Wine
  • Buying Great Wine
  • Canadian Wine
  • Central and Eastern European Wine
  • Chilean Wine
  • Detecting Faulty Wine
  • French Wine - Wines of Alsace
  • French Wine - Wines of Bordeaux
  • French Wine - Wines of Burgundy
  • French Wine - Wines of Champagne
  • French Wine - Wines of Languedoc and Roussillon
  • French Wine - Wines of Provence and Corsica
  • French Wine - Wines of Rhône
  • French Wine - Wines of Southwest France
  • German Wine
  • Giving the Gift of Wine
  • Knowing When to Drink It
  • Mediterranean Wine
  • More about Wine
  • New Zealand Wine
  • Ordering Wine in a Restaurant
  • Pairing Food and Wine
  • Portuguese Wine
  • Portuguese Wine - Madeira
  • Portuguese Wine - Port
  • Serving Wine Like a Professional
  • South African Wine
  • Spanish Wine - Sherry
  • Spanish Wine - Wines of Central and Southern Spain
  • Spanish Wine - Wines of Northeast Spain
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  • Spanish Wine - Wines of Ribera del Duero
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  • Talking the Talk—Wine Terminology
  • Tasting Wine Like a Professional
  • Trade Secrets - Storing Wine
  • Trade Secrets - Wine Myths
  • Vin de Pays
  • Wine from the Rest of the World
  • Wines of Northeast Italy
  • Wines of Northwest Italy
  • Wines of Southern Italy and the Islands
  • Wines of the Rest of Central Italy
  • Wines of the Rest of France
  • Wines of the Rest of the United States
  • Wines of Tuscany
  • Benefits of Mangosteen
  • Most Popular Animals
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  • Benefits of Mint Leaf

    Cooking with Mint

    Fresh mint provides excellent flavoring for many foods. Because the herb adds flavor without sodium, it is especially beneficial if you have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. Try adding chopped mint to sauces for lean, red meats or to boiled vegetables including peas, green beans or new potatoes. It is also terrific in a raw, fresh vegetable salad, particularly with cucumber and tomato. Use mint as a garnish for cool summer drinks and in fruit desserts.

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