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Thread: jargon

  1. #1
    RichD Guest

    Default jargon

    I'm fairly new to sophisticated wines, and need some
    help trying to understand the descriptions tasters use.

    I understand what is meant by fruity, spicy, sweet,
    dry, those are straightforward. But what is mineral,
    or earthy? I don't normally chew on dirt, and don't
    see the attraction here. And what about buttery?
    (which applies to chardonnay only, apparently)

    Also. heavy/light, simple/complex, body, structure,
    texture... can anyone explain these?

    Tannic vs. acidic is also unclear. Tannic wines make
    you pucker, right? I don't get it, are there really drinkers
    who enjoy that? And is acidic different than tannic? If
    anyone could a list of tannic vs. acid wines, I'll try
    them side by side.

    What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? Haven't
    brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?

    Thanks,

    --
    Rich


  2. #2
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 26, 12:07*am, RichD <r_delaney2...@yahoo.com> wrote:
    > I'm fairly new to sophisticated wines, and need some
    > help trying to understand the descriptions tasters use.
    >
    > I understand what is meant by fruity, spicy, sweet,
    > dry, those are straightforward. *But what is mineral,
    > or earthy? *I don't normally chew on dirt, and don't
    > see the attraction here. *And what about buttery?
    > (which applies to chardonnay only, apparently)
    >
    > Also. heavy/light, simple/complex, body, structure,
    > texture... can anyone explain these?
    >
    > Tannic vs. acidic is also unclear. *Tannic wines make
    > you pucker, right? *I don't get it, are there really drinkers
    > who enjoy that? *And is acidic different than tannic? *If
    > anyone could a list of tannic vs. acid wines, I'll try
    > them side by side.
    >
    > What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? *Haven't
    > brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > --
    > Rich


    Lots of questions!
    OK, a few quick replies, from a non-scientist
    I think in Socrates' time amphora might have been more common. And
    brewers make beer.
    Most references to "oaked" have to do with new oak (first use
    barrels). Older barrels (and larger containers like foudres, with more
    surface space), impart more direct oak flavors. Some people like new
    oak more than others.

    Tannins and acids are not really related. A wine can be low acid low
    tannin, high acid low tannin,. low acid high tannin, high acid high
    tannin, and all variations in between. Tannins (yes, they can make you
    pucker) provide structure- in the short term maybe good for dealing
    with fat in rare meat, in long term can help age. Tannins and acids
    should be in balance, but what that means varies to different people.
    Without knowing what is available to you, hard to recommend specific
    wines, because of availabilty. As a GROSS generalization, Loire Cab
    Franc would be more acidic than Languedoc reds, etc.

    When Chardonnay undergoes malolactic fermentation (malic acid to
    lactic acids) certain malobacters can produce diacetyl, a substance
    which is in butter and is added to margarine or "movie butter" to give
    it the buttery flavor.

    Earth and minerals are inexact terms to try and capture some of the
    non-fruit based flavors in wines.

  3. #3
    Mark Lipton Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    DaleW wrote:

    >> I understand what is meant by fruity, spicy, sweet,
    >> dry, those are straightforward. But what is mineral,
    >> or earthy? I don't normally chew on dirt, and don't
    >> see the attraction here. And what about buttery?
    >> (which applies to chardonnay only, apparently)
    >>
    >> Also. heavy/light, simple/complex, body, structure,
    >> texture... can anyone explain these?
    >>
    >> Tannic vs. acidic is also unclear. Tannic wines make
    >> you pucker, right? I don't get it, are there really drinkers
    >> who enjoy that? And is acidic different than tannic? If
    >> anyone could a list of tannic vs. acid wines, I'll try
    >> them side by side.
    >>
    >> What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? Haven't
    >> brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?


    > Most references to "oaked" have to do with new oak (first use
    > barrels). Older barrels (and larger containers like foudres, with more
    > surface space), impart more direct oak flavors.


    I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS direct
    oak flavors. The flavor of new oak has several forms: American oak
    often gives a vanilla-like flavor to wine, whereas French oak often
    gives flavors akin to baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg, mostly). If
    the oak has been toasted, you also get toast-like flavors, and all oak
    imparts tannins to wine (oak is HUGELY tannic -- ever tried eating an
    acorn?)

    The words you mention, Rich, describe lots of different things:

    "earthy" and "mineral" describe smells. Most of what we get from wine
    is from what we smell (even what we taste is mostly smelled). So, don't
    you know what freshly turned earth or forest floor smells like? What
    hot rocks smell like? That's what those terms reference.

    "heavy," "light," "body" and "structure" have to do with mouth feel, the
    tactile sensation of having the wine in your mouth. A milkshake feels
    thicker in the mouth than a cup of tea, right? It would be a heavier
    beverage. More subtly, coffee is usually a heavier beverage than tea.
    The "body" of a wine describes how thick and heavy it feels. Full body
    = big and thick; light body = thin and light.

    "tannic" is also a tactile term. In the extreme, tannins make your
    mouth pucker, but they also impart a sense of roughness to the mouthfeel
    and also can contribute to the body of the wine. Most young red wines
    will have some amount of tannic feel to them, but that fades with time,
    which is why we age some red wines before drinking them. Some people
    _do_ seem to like the feel of tannic red wines, though (they do go well
    with steak, f'rinstance).

    "acidic" has to do with how crisp or soft the wine seems. It has a lot
    to do with the aftertaste. A crisp, acidic wine will leave little
    aftertaste, whereas a soft, non-acidic wine will have a mouth-coating
    feel to it. Think about the differences in aftertaste between milk
    (soft) and tea or coffee (acidic).

    For a more detailed discussion of these and other terms, you might
    consider getting a book like Hugh Johnson's "Pocket Wine Book" (cost:
    $10 from Amazon) which has a detailed glossary of wine terms as well as
    a lot of other useful information about wine.

    HTH
    Mark Lipton

    --
    alt.food.wine FAQ: http://winefaq.cwdjr.net

  4. #4
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    >
    > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS direct
    > oak flavors. *


    yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).

    A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but you
    could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.

  5. #5
    graham Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "DaleW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    >
    > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS direct
    > oak flavors.


    yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).

    A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but you
    could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK reviews?
    Graham



  6. #6
    greybeard Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    |
    | "DaleW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    |
    news:[email protected]...
    |
    | >
    | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    direct
    | > oak flavors.
    |
    | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    |
    | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but you
    | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    | -----------------------------------------------------------
    |
    | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    reviews?
    | Graham
    |
    |

    I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    currency:
    what is a reductive wine?
    how would I identify it in a wine?

    cheers greybeard



  7. #7
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 26, 7:18*pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:
    > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
    >
    > news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message
    >
    > |news:[email protected]....
    > |
    > | >
    > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > direct
    > | > oak flavors.
    > |
    > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > |
    > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket *is good, but you
    > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > |
    > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > reviews?
    > | Graham
    > |
    > |
    >
    > I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    > currency:
    > what is a reductive wine?
    > how would I identify it in a wine?
    >
    > cheers greybeard


    Graham,
    I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.

    Greybeard,
    reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It's the opposite of seeing
    too much oxygen. Dr Lipton can explain better, but in the worse cases
    of reduction you have mercaptans (in worse cases smells of rotten eggs
    or burning rubbers). In lesser cases you get less objectionable,
    especially sulphur (just lit matches) odors.
    By the way, these things are pretty personal as to perception, and for
    instance I am fairly insensitive to reductive aromas.

  8. #8
    Anders Tørneskog Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "RichD" <[email protected]> skrev i melding
    news:[email protected]...
    > I'm fairly new to sophisticated wines, and need some
    > help trying to understand the descriptions tasters use.
    >
    > I understand what is meant by fruity, spicy, sweet,
    > dry, those are straightforward. But what is mineral,
    > or earthy? I don't normally chew on dirt, and don't
    > see the attraction here. And what about buttery?
    > (which applies to chardonnay only, apparently)
    >

    Mineral: Think of the smell you get when you bang two stones together
    Earth: Think of the smell of wet soil after rain (depends on where you
    live, I think)
    >
    > Also. heavy/light, simple/complex, body, structure,
    > texture... can anyone explain these?
    >

    A light wine example is an ordinary red Beaujolais or a white vinho verde
    from Portugal - simple and refreshing and easy to drink
    A heavy wine would be a red Amarone from Italy or a Zinfandel from
    California - viscous and alcoholic with much taste.
    Simple: Onedimensional, short
    Complex: Layers of taste, changing all the time, long lasting and varying
    sensation in mouth
    Body: Mouthfilling, chewy
    Structure: The combination of various parts of the wine - smell, taste,
    texture, complexity. A well structured wine is where the parts form a
    harmonious whole.
    > Tannic vs. acidic is also unclear. Tannic wines make
    > you pucker, right? I don't get it, are there really drinkers
    > who enjoy that? And is acidic different than tannic? If
    > anyone could a list of tannic vs. acid wines, I'll try
    > them side by side.
    >

    Tannins are astringent. Eat banana peels.
    Acids are sour. Eat lemons.

    Tannic wines are mostly red ones. They will often need maturing to round
    off, in a few cases up to 15-20 years... Tannins are often desired as being
    the backbone of a wine structure. Some, like me, do appreciate tannic
    wines, others prefer softer wines.
    Acid wines are often white ones. Acids often diminish during storage and
    thus you'll find more acids with younger whites with the result being a
    sensation of freshness, even zing. Sweet whites will often need a high
    degree of acidity to be considered balanced (well structured :-). A high
    acidity is
    > What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? Haven't
    > brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?
    >

    Right. However, new oak barrels flavor wine very much more strongly. In
    Europe barrels were used and reused for long times and so only a small part
    of the wine saw new barrels. The blended end result would then have only a
    moderate influence from oak.
    In the US, notably, oak was taken as a quality marker and so the public
    looked for wines with a heavy oak taste to the extent that some wine makers
    not only used all new barrels but also filled up with oak wood chippings...
    (that is not quite true... it was steel tanks that received wood chips :-)
    Btw, most ordinary wine sees little oak wood but are fermented in steel
    tanks. The use of oak barrels has largely disappeared in Germany, the
    preference being for maximum fruitiness in all wines, up to the expensivest
    ones.

    Fortunately, the overly heavyhanded use of oak so common in the 1980ies has
    diminished...
    For some wines oak still is necessary to give a desired structure and
    backbone.

    hth
    Anders



  9. #9
    James Silverton Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    graham wrote on Wed, 26 Aug 2009 16:09:21 -0600:

    >> I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart
    >> LESS direct oak flavors.


    > yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a
    > lot of oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less,
    > after that virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface
    > area compared to volume, so typically even new foudres or
    > botti (often 1000 liters or much more) would give less oak
    > than new barriques (225 liters).


    > A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good,
    > but you could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea
    > Immers, all of which devote pages to each of these
    > subjects.
    > -----------------------------------------------------------


    When I was last in London, I saw (expensive) wine-tasting kits with
    vials of liquids for various tasters' terms like "black-currant",
    "oaked" etc. As I write this, I think I remember this was at a place
    called "Vinopolis", the wine museum.

    --

    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations: not.jim.silverton.at.verizon.not


  10. #10
    graham Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "DaleW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    On Aug 26, 7:18 pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:
    > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
    >
    > news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message
    >
    > |news:[email protected]...
    > |
    > | >
    > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > direct
    > | > oak flavors.
    > |
    > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > |
    > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but you
    > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > |
    > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > reviews?
    > | Graham
    > |

    Graham,
    I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.

    -------------------------------------------
    Dale:
    Thanks for that! It's one of those subtle and vague terms that some English
    writers are overfond of using.
    Graham



  11. #11
    Joseph Coulter Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Thu, 27 Aug 2009 07:48:08 -0600, "graham" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >"DaleW" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >On Aug 26, 7:18 pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:
    >> "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message
    >>
    >> news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    >> || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message
    >>
    >> |news:[email protected]...
    >> |
    >> | >
    >> | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    >> direct
    >> | > oak flavors.
    >> |
    >> | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    >> | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    >> | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    >> | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    >> | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    >> |
    >> | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but you
    >> | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    >> | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    >> | -----------------------------------------------------------
    >> |
    >> | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    >> reviews?
    >> | Graham
    >> |

    >Graham,
    >I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    >elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    >sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    >fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    >exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    >lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    >tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.
    >
    >-------------------------------------------
    >Dale:
    >Thanks for that! It's one of those subtle and vague terms that some English
    >writers are overfond of using.
    >Graham
    >

    Finesse is one of my favorite wine words For me it refers to a wine
    that does not overpower, but has a gentle approach ie not a fruitbomb.
    Joseph Coulter
    Joseph Coulter Cruises and Vacations
    www.josephcoulter.com

  12. #12
    James Dempster Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Thu, 27 Aug 2009 16:59:15 -0400, Joseph Coulter <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >>Thanks for that! It's one of those subtle and vague terms that some English
    >>writers are overfond of using.
    >>Graham
    >>

    >Finesse is one of my favorite wine words For me it refers to a wine
    >that does not overpower, but has a gentle approach ie not a fruitbomb.
    >Joseph Coulter
    >Joseph Coulter Cruises and Vacations
    >www.josephcoulter.com


    I still think that the definition of finesse in the Chambers
    Dictionary sums it up perfectly "subtle intention of design".

    A wine with finesse is subtle, balanced and beautiful rather than
    loud, brash and in your face.

    Think Chanel's little black dress or Michael Broadbent's tailor. :-)

    James

  13. #13
    Bobchai Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 26, 5:52*pm, DaleW <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote:
    > On Aug 26, 7:18*pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message

    >
    > >news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message

    >
    > > |news:[email protected]....
    > > |
    > > | >
    > > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > > direct
    > > | > oak flavors.
    > > |
    > > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    > > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    > > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > > |
    > > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket *is good, but you
    > > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    > > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > > |
    > > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > > reviews?
    > > | Graham
    > > |
    > > |

    >
    > > I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    > > currency:
    > > what is a reductive wine?
    > > how would I identify it in a wine?

    >
    > > cheers greybeard

    >
    > Graham,
    > I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    > elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    > sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    > fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    > exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    > lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    > tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.
    >
    > Greybeard,
    > reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It's the opposite of seeing
    > too much oxygen. Dr Lipton can explain better, but in the worse cases
    > of reduction you have mercaptans (in worse cases smells of rotten eggs
    > or burning rubbers). In lesser cases you get less objectionable,
    > especially sulphur (just lit matches) odors.
    > By the way, these things are pretty personal as to perception, and for
    > instance I am fairly insensitive to reductive aromas.


    Greetings:

    I have not posted to this group for several years, but I find this is
    an interesting thread! I have been a winemaker in Napa/Sonoma for
    many years, and currently I'm in the barrel business. I won't discuss
    oak at this time, but I want to expound a bit on oxidation and
    reduction.

    Everything which has been explained is correct, except one comment
    which needs clarification, and I'll get to that at the end.

    There is a whole sub-study of wine chemistry (and of chemistry in
    general) which is about "Redox" (oxidation vs. reduction). It is a
    delicate balance. It is of supreme importance, because wine is a
    fragile product and depending on cellar technique, wines could go off
    in either direction during cellaring at the winery.

    Bottled wines also evolve in the same way, but mostly in the direction
    of oxidation as they age.

    Oxidation obviously means what it says, We have all probably
    experienced oxidized wines at one time or another, because of loose
    corks or simply holding wines until they are past their peak. Proper
    storage is the issue here, keeping the cork wet and forming a tight
    seal by storing the bottle on its side. But temperature and sunlight
    are are also agents which hasten oxidation, and we don't need to get
    into that, because I think everyone knows about this.

    One point I will make about bottled wines is that corks deteriorate
    over time, when they are constantly saturated. I opened some wines
    from the early '70s recently, whose corks simply fell apart as I used
    my corkscrew. They had been great wines in their time, but I'm glad I
    didn't bring them to a dinner party. Collectors of extremely rare and
    expensive wines should have them re-corked every 20 years or so, and
    the grand crus of Bordeaux offer this service on a periodic basis. If
    you re-cork one of these heirlooms, it must be done by the chateau to
    prevent fraud (and they do world tours, so you don't have to take your
    wine to France).

    OK, so let's summarize oxidation. Ethyl alcohol, if in low
    concentrations like table wine (not in high proof spirits), will
    combine with oxygen to form acetaldehyde.

    Acetaldehyde is the smell of sherry. Obviously, Sherry, Madeira, Vin
    Santo, tawny Port and old style Hungarian Tokaji are the deliberate
    work of winemakers to incorporate an oxidated aroma and taste to their
    wines. But the technique is finely controlled, and the most expert
    examples are marvels of complexity: at this low level, the aromas have
    an incredible nuttiness, like the hazel nut aromas in additives to
    coffee.

    But it's an acquired taste. Some people can't stand sherry, and I
    don't blame them. I couldn't, for years. To subject clean fruit to
    this punishment is an abomination to some, but in Jerez and Tuscany
    it's an art. It all depends on one's tolerance for manipulated wine.
    Now, I think a fino sherry or an aged Tokaji are fabulous.

    Then acetaldehyde, in the presence of more oxygen, becomes acetic
    acid, which is vinegar. No need to explain that. The process is
    sometimes hastened by the accidental or careless presence of
    acetobacter bacteria, but it will happen anyway. The term, "VA",
    meaning volatile acidity, is the wine tasters' term for wines which
    may not have gone all the way to vinegar, but have that piercing smell
    and a burning sense in the aftertaste. Some people actually appreciate
    minute traces of VA in a wine, because it may push the fruit forward
    slightly in the nose, but I don't. Tolerance levels vary among each of
    us.

    It gets worse. The final stage gets ugly. Acetic acid molecules re-
    combine with ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate, which is the odor of
    nail polish remover. Wines like this have no redeeming social value.
    However, if this ever happens in a bottled wine, you wouldn't want to
    get near it; it's way too far gone.

    So what are the benefits of oxidation? Oxygen doesn't only affect the
    alcohol part of a wine, it affects the total package. Slow oxidation
    (as in barrels) matures wine, makes it softer by cancelling out
    tannins. Tannins in red wines are the natural anti-oxidants, and so a
    careful introduction of oxygen is a good thing for youthful, robust
    red wines. In fact, for tank aged cheaper reds, there is a process
    called "micro-oxygenation" (developed in SW France around 1990, and
    now used everywhere), which incorporates something like a fish bubbler
    for aquariums. Oxygen is metered in slowly with a bubbler, and there's
    a whole technology and formulae about how much oxygen to introduce.

    Moving on to the OPPOSITE side of the coin, because reduction is the
    literal opposite of oxidation: in the ABSENCE of oxygen, organic
    matter decomposes anerobically, producing hydrogen sulfide. The smell
    of the debris from a pond floor, or a swamp, is a perfect example.
    Wine tasters refer to this as the "rotten egg smell", because a
    decomposed egg yolk IS literally loaded with sulfur to produce H2S
    (why else the yellow color? I can't say)

    Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae on the French
    beaches of Brittany this summer? They are deadly. Farmers are using
    too much nitrogen fertilizer, and the runoff from rain is causing
    enormous algae blooms off the beaches, and when the algae is washed
    ashore, it forms piles which release enormous quantities of hydrogen
    sulfide gas (H2S), which has actually killed several people.

    The same takes place in the microcosm of a wine barrel. Winemakers are
    becoming more "natural", and leaving the wine on the lees (the spent
    yeast which forms a deposit in the bilge of a barrel), in the efforts
    of acquiring more character. For chardonnay, this is de regeur, and
    chardonnay producers often stir the lees on a regular basis, to
    acquire the aromas of yeast autolysis (which promotes the breakdown of
    the yeast, cracking open the yeast cells, yielding a wonderful,
    toasty, bready aroma, which has little to do with reduction).

    But if left unattended, this spent yeast often decomposes into
    products which produce hydrogen sulfide. This is particularly true of
    red wines, because aside from the yeast, there are various solids from
    the grape skins which settle into the bottom of the barrel. Intensely
    pigmented wine such as syrah is especially prone to reduction. I
    hardly ever notice H2S in light red wines such as pinot noir.

    So what do we have? H2S, hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell,
    which is not toxic in these trace amounts, but enough to be an
    annoyance. Oxygen in the early stages may take care of the matter.
    This is why classic French cellar technique is to "rack" the barrels,
    that is, to transfer the wine out of the barrel into a tank or another
    barrel, to get it off the lees. Bordelais tradition was once every
    trimester during the first year (which also involves having the wine
    exposed to air), and little or no racking during the second year,
    because the wine by then was presumed "clean".

    For persistent H2S problems in the winery, winemakers have used copper
    sulfate (commonly used in sewage treatment), but any amount over 1 ppm
    is detectable in sensory analysis and legally on shaky ground.

    I used it only once, on a freshly fermented wine, theorizing that the
    cupric sulfide product of chemical bonds would adhere to the suspended
    yeast and settle out as a precipitate with the lees. My hunch was
    confirmed on subsequent analysis!

    If you are getting real, honest-to-goodness rotten egg smell in a
    bottled red wine, it probably means the wine was unfiltered, and there
    are probably deposits in the bottle which produced this in situ, not
    necessarily at the winery.

    But the issue and the definition raised here in the post I am replying
    to, is what is reduction in most bottled wine? It's not H2S. It's
    what the writer referred to as the "rubbery" smell. This is not H2S,
    it's ethyl mercaptans. This, like ethyl acetate in oxidation, is when
    the ethyl alcohol molecule bonds with H2S, and we have a whole
    different animal here.

    The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    match is incorrect. Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide.
    Not the same thing at all. SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    product of fermentation. SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.

    Present technology is looking for ways to eliminate SO2 additions,
    although it has been used in wines for thousands of years.

    Mercaptans, that rubbery smell, is nearly impossible to treat at the
    winery. There is a chemical treatment involving use of a cyanide
    compound, but the application has to be stoichiometrically perfect,
    and I'm almost sure it's not even legal anymore. Best to dump the
    wine, or sell it off in bulk, to disappear in a giant million gallon
    blend.

    Please, nobody get the impression that most modern wines are
    manipulated this way! Wine technology has progressed a long way since
    I was in the field, and more careful practices in the vineyard,
    involving vine nutrition, etc., and in the cellar, are making wines
    cleaner and cleaner. Wine remains essentially a natural product. I
    merely wanted to present a discussion of redox from the winery point
    of view.

    However, I still taste $5 reds (imports) which I know were treated
    with copper, and cheap white wines which I know were hit with SO2 to
    knock down aldehydes, but these wines are probably not what this
    newsgroup is drinking, anyway.

    --Bob





  14. #14
    Bi!! Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 30, 7:39�am, Bobchai <barrel...@gmail.com> wrote:
    > On Aug 26, 5:52�pm, DaleW <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote:
    >
    > > On Aug 26, 7:18�pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:

    >
    > > > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message

    >
    > > >news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > > > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message

    >
    > > > |news:[email protected]...
    > > > |
    > > > | >
    > > > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > > > direct
    > > > | > oak flavors.
    > > > |
    > > > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    > > > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > > > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > > > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters or
    > > > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > > > |
    > > > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket �is good, but you
    > > > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    > > > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > > > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > > > |
    > > > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > > > reviews?
    > > > | Graham
    > > > |
    > > > |

    >
    > > > I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    > > > currency:
    > > > what is a reductive wine?
    > > > how would I identify it in a wine?

    >
    > > > cheers greybeard

    >
    > > Graham,
    > > I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    > > elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    > > sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    > > fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    > > exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    > > lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    > > tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.

    >
    > > Greybeard,
    > > reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It's the opposite of seeing
    > > too much oxygen. Dr Lipton can explain better, but in the worse cases
    > > of reduction you have mercaptans (in worse cases smells of rotten eggs
    > > or burning rubbers). In lesser cases you get less objectionable,
    > > especially sulphur (just lit matches) odors.
    > > By the way, these things are pretty personal as to perception, and for
    > > instance I am fairly insensitive to reductive aromas.

    >
    > Greetings:
    >
    > I have not posted to this group for several years, but I find this is
    > an interesting thread! �I have been a winemaker in Napa/Sonoma for
    > many years, and currently I'm in the barrel business. I won't discuss
    > oak at this time, but I want to expound a bit on oxidation and
    > reduction.
    >
    > Everything which has been explained is correct, except one comment
    > which needs clarification, and I'll get to that at the end.
    >
    > There is a whole sub-study of wine chemistry (and of chemistry in
    > general) which is about "Redox" �(oxidation vs. reduction). �It is a
    > delicate balance. �It is of supreme importance, because wine is a
    > fragile product and depending on cellar technique, wines could go off
    > in either direction during cellaring at the winery.
    >
    > Bottled wines also evolve in the same way, but mostly in the direction
    > of oxidation as they age.
    >
    > Oxidation obviously means what it says, We have all probably
    > experienced oxidized wines at one time or another, because of loose
    > corks or simply holding wines until they are past their peak. �Proper
    > storage is the issue here, keeping the cork wet and forming a tight
    > seal by storing the bottle on its side. But temperature and sunlight
    > are are also agents which hasten oxidation, and we don't need to get
    > into that, because I think everyone knows about this.
    >
    > One point I will make about bottled wines is that corks deteriorate
    > over time, when they are constantly saturated. �I opened some wines
    > from the early '70s recently, whose corks simply fell apart as I used
    > my corkscrew. �They had been great wines in their time, but I'm glad I
    > didn't bring them to a dinner party. Collectors of extremely rare and
    > expensive wines should have them re-corked every 20 years or so, and
    > the grand crus of Bordeaux offer this service on a periodic basis. If
    > you re-cork one of these heirlooms, it must be done by the chateau to
    > prevent fraud (and they do world tours, so you don't have to take your
    > wine to France).
    >
    > OK, so let's summarize oxidation. �Ethyl alcohol, if in low
    > concentrations like table wine (not in high proof spirits), will
    > combine with oxygen to form acetaldehyde.
    >
    > Acetaldehyde is the smell of sherry. Obviously, Sherry, Madeira, Vin
    > Santo, tawny Port and old style Hungarian Tokaji �are the deliberate
    > work of winemakers to incorporate an oxidated aroma and taste to their
    > wines. But the technique is finely controlled, and the most expert
    > examples are marvels of complexity: at this low level, the aromas have
    > an incredible nuttiness, like the hazel nut aromas in additives to
    > coffee.
    >
    > But it's an acquired taste. Some people can't stand sherry, and I
    > don't blame them. I couldn't, for years. To subject clean fruit to
    > this punishment is an abomination to some, but in Jerez and Tuscany
    > it's an art. It all depends on one's tolerance for manipulated wine.
    > Now, �I think a fino sherry or an aged Tokaji are fabulous.
    >
    > Then acetaldehyde, in the presence of more oxygen, becomes acetic
    > acid, which is vinegar. �No need to explain that. �The process is
    > sometimes hastened by the accidental or careless presence of
    > acetobacter bacteria, but it will happen anyway. � The term, "VA",
    > meaning volatile acidity, is the wine tasters' term for wines which
    > may not have gone all the way to vinegar, but have that piercing smell
    > and a burning sense in the aftertaste. Some people actually appreciate
    > minute traces of VA in a wine, because it may push the fruit forward
    > slightly in the nose, but I don't. Tolerance levels vary among each of
    > us.
    >
    > It gets worse. The final stage gets ugly. �Acetic acid molecules re-
    > combine with ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate, which is the odor of
    > nail polish remover. Wines like this have no redeeming social value.
    > However, if this ever happens in a bottled wine, you wouldn't want to
    > get near it; it's way too far gone.
    >
    > So what are the benefits of oxidation? �Oxygen doesn't only affect the
    > alcohol part of a wine, it affects the total package. Slow oxidation
    > (as in barrels) matures wine, makes it softer by cancelling out
    > tannins. �Tannins in red wines are the natural anti-oxidants, andso a
    > careful introduction of oxygen is a good thing for youthful, robust
    > red wines. In fact, for tank aged cheaper reds, there is a process
    > called "micro-oxygenation" (developed in SW France around 1990, and
    > now used everywhere), which incorporates something like a fish bubbler
    > for aquariums. Oxygen is metered in slowly with a bubbler, and there's
    > a whole technology and formulae about how much oxygen to introduce.
    >
    > Moving on to the OPPOSITE side of the coin, because reduction is the
    > literal opposite of oxidation: in the ABSENCE of oxygen, organic
    > matter decomposes anerobically, producing hydrogen sulfide. �The smell
    > of the debris from a pond floor, or a swamp, is a perfect example.
    > Wine tasters refer to this as the "rotten egg smell", because a
    > decomposed egg yolk IS literally loaded with sulfur to produce H2S
    > (why else the yellow color? �I can't say)
    >
    > Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae on the French
    > beaches of Brittany this summer? �They are deadly. �Farmers are using
    > too much nitrogen fertilizer, and the runoff from rain is causing
    > enormous algae blooms off the beaches, and when the algae is washed
    > ashore, it forms piles which release enormous quantities of hydrogen
    > sulfide gas (H2S), which has actually killed several people.
    >
    > The same takes place in the microcosm of a wine barrel. Winemakers are
    > becoming more "natural", and leaving the wine on the lees (the spent
    > yeast which forms a deposit in the bilge of a barrel), in the efforts
    > of acquiring more character. �For chardonnay, this is de regeur, and
    > chardonnay producers often stir the lees on a regular basis, to
    > acquire the aromas of yeast autolysis (which promotes the breakdown of
    > the yeast, cracking open the yeast cells, yielding a wonderful,
    > toasty, bready aroma, which has little to do with reduction).
    >
    > But if left unattended, this spent yeast often decomposes into
    > products which produce hydrogen sulfide. This is particularly true of
    > red wines, because aside from the yeast, there are various solids from
    > the grape skins which settle into the bottom of the barrel. �Intensely
    > pigmented wine such as syrah is especially prone to reduction. I
    > hardly ever notice H2S in light red wines such as pinot noir.
    >
    > So what do we have? �H2S, hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell,
    > which is not toxic in these trace amounts, but enough to be an
    > annoyance. Oxygen in the early stages may take care of the matter.
    > This is why classic French cellar technique is to "rack" the barrels,
    > that is, to transfer the wine out of the barrel into a tank or another
    > barrel, to get it off the lees. �Bordelais tradition was once every
    > trimester during the first year (which also involves having the wine
    > exposed to air), and little or no racking during the second year,
    > because the wine by then was presumed "clean".
    >
    > For persistent H2S problems in the winery, winemakers have used copper
    > sulfate (commonly used in sewage treatment), but any amount over 1 ppm
    > is detectable in sensory analysis and legally on shaky ground.
    >
    > I used it only once, on a freshly fermented wine, theorizing that the
    > cupric sulfide product of chemical bonds would adhere to the suspended
    > yeast and settle out as a precipitate with the lees. My hunch was
    > confirmed on subsequent analysis!
    >
    > If you are getting real, honest-to-goodness rotten egg smell in a
    > bottled red wine, it probably means the wine was unfiltered, and there
    > are probably deposits in the bottle which produced this in situ, not
    > necessarily at the winery.
    >
    > But the issue and the definition raised here in the post I am replying
    > to, is what is reduction in most bottled wine? �It's not H2S. �It's
    > what the writer referred to as the "rubbery" smell. �This is not H2S,
    > it's ethyl mercaptans. �This, like ethyl acetate in oxidation, iswhen
    > the ethyl alcohol molecule bonds with H2S, and we have a whole
    > different animal here.
    >
    > The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    > match is incorrect. �Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide..
    > Not the same thing at all. �SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    > operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    > product of fermentation. �SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    > that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    > should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.
    >
    > Present technology is looking for ways to eliminate SO2 additions,
    > although it has been used in wines for thousands of years.
    >
    > Mercaptans, that rubbery smell, �is nearly impossible to treat atthe
    > winery. �There is a chemical treatment involving use of a cyanide
    > compound, but the application �has to be stoichiometrically perfect,
    > and I'm almost sure it's not even legal anymore. �Best to dump the
    > wine, or sell it off in bulk, to disappear in a giant million gallon
    > blend.
    >
    > Please, nobody get the impression that most modern wines are
    > manipulated this way! �Wine technology has progressed a long way since
    > I was in the field, and more careful practices in the vineyard,
    > involving vine nutrition, etc., and in the cellar, are making wines
    > cleaner and cleaner. Wine remains essentially a natural product. �I
    > merely wanted to present a discussion of redox from the winery point
    > of view.
    >
    > However, I still taste $5 reds (imports) which I know were treated
    > with copper, and cheap white wines which I know were hit with SO2 to
    > knock down aldehydes, but these wines are probably not what this
    > newsgroup is drinking, anyway.
    >
    > --Bob


    Bob,
    Thank you for your wonderfully informative post. Welcome back!

  15. #15
    greybeard Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "Bobchai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..
    On Aug 26, 5:52 pm, DaleW <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote:
    > On Aug 26, 7:18 pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message

    >
    > >news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message

    >
    > > |news:[email protected]...
    > > |
    > > | >
    > > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > > direct
    > > | > oak flavors.
    > > |
    > > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot
    > > of
    > > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 liters
    > > or
    > > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > > |
    > > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, but
    > > you
    > > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea
    > > Immers,
    > > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > > |
    > > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > > reviews?
    > > | Graham
    > > |
    > > |

    >
    > > I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    > > currency:
    > > what is a reductive wine?
    > > how would I identify it in a wine?

    >
    > > cheers greybeard

    >
    > Graham,
    > I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    > elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    > sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    > fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    > exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    > lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    > tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.
    >
    > Greybeard,
    > reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It's the opposite of seeing
    > too much oxygen. Dr Lipton can explain better, but in the worse cases
    > of reduction you have mercaptans (in worse cases smells of rotten eggs
    > or burning rubbers). In lesser cases you get less objectionable,
    > especially sulphur (just lit matches) odors.
    > By the way, these things are pretty personal as to perception, and for
    > instance I am fairly insensitive to reductive aromas.


    Greetings:

    I have not posted to this group for several years, but I find this is
    an interesting thread! I have been a winemaker in Napa/Sonoma for
    many years, and currently I'm in the barrel business. I won't discuss
    oak at this time, but I want to expound a bit on oxidation and
    reduction.

    Everything which has been explained is correct, except one comment
    which needs clarification, and I'll get to that at the end.

    There is a whole sub-study of wine chemistry (and of chemistry in
    general) which is about "Redox" (oxidation vs. reduction). It is a
    delicate balance. It is of supreme importance, because wine is a
    fragile product and depending on cellar technique, wines could go off
    in either direction during cellaring at the winery.

    Bottled wines also evolve in the same way, but mostly in the direction
    of oxidation as they age.

    Oxidation obviously means what it says, We have all probably
    experienced oxidized wines at one time or another, because of loose
    corks or simply holding wines until they are past their peak. Proper
    storage is the issue here, keeping the cork wet and forming a tight
    seal by storing the bottle on its side. But temperature and sunlight
    are are also agents which hasten oxidation, and we don't need to get
    into that, because I think everyone knows about this.

    One point I will make about bottled wines is that corks deteriorate
    over time, when they are constantly saturated. I opened some wines
    from the early '70s recently, whose corks simply fell apart as I used
    my corkscrew. They had been great wines in their time, but I'm glad I
    didn't bring them to a dinner party. Collectors of extremely rare and
    expensive wines should have them re-corked every 20 years or so, and
    the grand crus of Bordeaux offer this service on a periodic basis. If
    you re-cork one of these heirlooms, it must be done by the chateau to
    prevent fraud (and they do world tours, so you don't have to take your
    wine to France).

    OK, so let's summarize oxidation. Ethyl alcohol, if in low
    concentrations like table wine (not in high proof spirits), will
    combine with oxygen to form acetaldehyde.

    Acetaldehyde is the smell of sherry. Obviously, Sherry, Madeira, Vin
    Santo, tawny Port and old style Hungarian Tokaji are the deliberate
    work of winemakers to incorporate an oxidated aroma and taste to their
    wines. But the technique is finely controlled, and the most expert
    examples are marvels of complexity: at this low level, the aromas have
    an incredible nuttiness, like the hazel nut aromas in additives to
    coffee.

    But it's an acquired taste. Some people can't stand sherry, and I
    don't blame them. I couldn't, for years. To subject clean fruit to
    this punishment is an abomination to some, but in Jerez and Tuscany
    it's an art. It all depends on one's tolerance for manipulated wine.
    Now, I think a fino sherry or an aged Tokaji are fabulous.

    Then acetaldehyde, in the presence of more oxygen, becomes acetic
    acid, which is vinegar. No need to explain that. The process is
    sometimes hastened by the accidental or careless presence of
    acetobacter bacteria, but it will happen anyway. The term, "VA",
    meaning volatile acidity, is the wine tasters' term for wines which
    may not have gone all the way to vinegar, but have that piercing smell
    and a burning sense in the aftertaste. Some people actually appreciate
    minute traces of VA in a wine, because it may push the fruit forward
    slightly in the nose, but I don't. Tolerance levels vary among each of
    us.

    It gets worse. The final stage gets ugly. Acetic acid molecules re-
    combine with ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate, which is the odor of
    nail polish remover. Wines like this have no redeeming social value.
    However, if this ever happens in a bottled wine, you wouldn't want to
    get near it; it's way too far gone.

    So what are the benefits of oxidation? Oxygen doesn't only affect the
    alcohol part of a wine, it affects the total package. Slow oxidation
    (as in barrels) matures wine, makes it softer by cancelling out
    tannins. Tannins in red wines are the natural anti-oxidants, and so a
    careful introduction of oxygen is a good thing for youthful, robust
    red wines. In fact, for tank aged cheaper reds, there is a process
    called "micro-oxygenation" (developed in SW France around 1990, and
    now used everywhere), which incorporates something like a fish bubbler
    for aquariums. Oxygen is metered in slowly with a bubbler, and there's
    a whole technology and formulae about how much oxygen to introduce.

    Moving on to the OPPOSITE side of the coin, because reduction is the
    literal opposite of oxidation: in the ABSENCE of oxygen, organic
    matter decomposes anerobically, producing hydrogen sulfide. The smell
    of the debris from a pond floor, or a swamp, is a perfect example.
    Wine tasters refer to this as the "rotten egg smell", because a
    decomposed egg yolk IS literally loaded with sulfur to produce H2S
    (why else the yellow color? I can't say)

    Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae on the French
    beaches of Brittany this summer? They are deadly. Farmers are using
    too much nitrogen fertilizer, and the runoff from rain is causing
    enormous algae blooms off the beaches, and when the algae is washed
    ashore, it forms piles which release enormous quantities of hydrogen
    sulfide gas (H2S), which has actually killed several people.

    The same takes place in the microcosm of a wine barrel. Winemakers are
    becoming more "natural", and leaving the wine on the lees (the spent
    yeast which forms a deposit in the bilge of a barrel), in the efforts
    of acquiring more character. For chardonnay, this is de regeur, and
    chardonnay producers often stir the lees on a regular basis, to
    acquire the aromas of yeast autolysis (which promotes the breakdown of
    the yeast, cracking open the yeast cells, yielding a wonderful,
    toasty, bready aroma, which has little to do with reduction).

    But if left unattended, this spent yeast often decomposes into
    products which produce hydrogen sulfide. This is particularly true of
    red wines, because aside from the yeast, there are various solids from
    the grape skins which settle into the bottom of the barrel. Intensely
    pigmented wine such as syrah is especially prone to reduction. I
    hardly ever notice H2S in light red wines such as pinot noir.

    So what do we have? H2S, hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell,
    which is not toxic in these trace amounts, but enough to be an
    annoyance. Oxygen in the early stages may take care of the matter.
    This is why classic French cellar technique is to "rack" the barrels,
    that is, to transfer the wine out of the barrel into a tank or another
    barrel, to get it off the lees. Bordelais tradition was once every
    trimester during the first year (which also involves having the wine
    exposed to air), and little or no racking during the second year,
    because the wine by then was presumed "clean".

    For persistent H2S problems in the winery, winemakers have used copper
    sulfate (commonly used in sewage treatment), but any amount over 1 ppm
    is detectable in sensory analysis and legally on shaky ground.

    I used it only once, on a freshly fermented wine, theorizing that the
    cupric sulfide product of chemical bonds would adhere to the suspended
    yeast and settle out as a precipitate with the lees. My hunch was
    confirmed on subsequent analysis!

    If you are getting real, honest-to-goodness rotten egg smell in a
    bottled red wine, it probably means the wine was unfiltered, and there
    are probably deposits in the bottle which produced this in situ, not
    necessarily at the winery.

    But the issue and the definition raised here in the post I am replying
    to, is what is reduction in most bottled wine? It's not H2S. It's
    what the writer referred to as the "rubbery" smell. This is not H2S,
    it's ethyl mercaptans. This, like ethyl acetate in oxidation, is when
    the ethyl alcohol molecule bonds with H2S, and we have a whole
    different animal here.

    The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    match is incorrect. Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide.
    Not the same thing at all. SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    product of fermentation. SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.

    Present technology is looking for ways to eliminate SO2 additions,
    although it has been used in wines for thousands of years.

    Mercaptans, that rubbery smell, is nearly impossible to treat at the
    winery. There is a chemical treatment involving use of a cyanide
    compound, but the application has to be stoichiometrically perfect,
    and I'm almost sure it's not even legal anymore. Best to dump the
    wine, or sell it off in bulk, to disappear in a giant million gallon
    blend.

    Please, nobody get the impression that most modern wines are
    manipulated this way! Wine technology has progressed a long way since
    I was in the field, and more careful practices in the vineyard,
    involving vine nutrition, etc., and in the cellar, are making wines
    cleaner and cleaner. Wine remains essentially a natural product. I
    merely wanted to present a discussion of redox from the winery point
    of view.

    However, I still taste $5 reds (imports) which I know were treated
    with copper, and cheap white wines which I know were hit with SO2 to
    knock down aldehydes, but these wines are probably not what this
    newsgroup is drinking, anyway.

    --Bob

    Thanks for your comprehensive reply.

    I particularly note that the reductive problem manifests in highly
    pigmented
    wines, hence not so often in a pinot noir for example.
    My original question re reduction was because I'd had two recent wines
    which exhibited characteristics which earlier research indicated maybe
    due
    to reduction. They were screwcapped, 4-5 years old, and both with
    poor aromatics and dulled flavours when compared to previously
    encounted examples from the same producers and brand. I didn't
    get any sulphur/rubber aromas however. Maybe I'm not too sensitive
    to them.
    Both are NZ pinots, and both are darkly coloured pinot examples;
    2005 Northrow Marlborough PN ( A Villa Maria, commerical wine for
    the restaurant/hospitality trade, unlikely to be seen overseas, and
    probably
    for early consumption)
    The other 2004 Ata Rangi, Martinborough, which is well known and highly
    rated.
    A second bottle of the Ata Rangi was the same, my first consumption of
    an
    Ata Rangi screwcapped vintage.
    All which has me thinking about the long term storage of screwcapped
    wine,
    of which I have a large, and rising number. (hard to avoid if you live
    in NZ!)
    Of course I've had dozens of screwcapped bottles that have been fine.
    Maybe like TCA infected corked bottles, I'm going to have to expect some
    failures
    from reductive wine screwcapped and aged. Sigh.........

    PS all wine is stored lying down, in dark, temperature controlled
    cabinets.

    cheers greybeard







  16. #16
    Bobchai Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 30, 7:28*am, "Bi!!" <rvwr...@aol.com> wrote:
    > On Aug 30, 7:39 am, Bobchai <barrel...@gmail.com> wrote:
    >
    > > On Aug 26, 5:52 pm, DaleW <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote:

    >
    > > > On Aug 26, 7:18 pm, "greybeard" <nob...@nowhere.com> wrote:

    >
    > > > > "graham" <gste...@shaw.ca> wrote in message

    >
    > > > >news:moilm.154708$[email protected]..
    > > > > || "DaleW" <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote in message

    >
    > > > > |news:[email protected].com...
    > > > > |
    > > > > | >
    > > > > | > I'm pretty sure that Dale meant that older barrels impart LESS
    > > > > direct
    > > > > | > oak flavors.
    > > > > |
    > > > > | yes, typing too fast. Typically new oak barrels can impart a lot of
    > > > > | oak flavors, barrels used once less, twice even less, after that
    > > > > | virtually none. Smaller barrels have more surface area compared to
    > > > > | volume, so typically even new foudres or botti (often 1000 litersor
    > > > > | much more) would give less oak than new barriques (225 liters).
    > > > > |
    > > > > | A good book is an excellent idea. The Johnson pocket is good, butyou
    > > > > | could also try the Dummies series, The Wine Bible, or Andrea Immers,
    > > > > | all of which devote pages to each of these subjects.
    > > > > | -----------------------------------------------------------
    > > > > |
    > > > > | But do they explain the word "finesse", which one often sees in UK
    > > > > reviews?
    > > > > | Graham
    > > > > |
    > > > > |

    >
    > > > > I'd like to know about another, newish wine term that is gaining
    > > > > currency:
    > > > > what is a reductive wine?
    > > > > how would I identify it in a wine?

    >
    > > > > cheers greybeard

    >
    > > > Graham,
    > > > I don't think there is any effective way to define "finesse" (or sexy,
    > > > elegant, lush, slutty, etc) or other common words in a purely wine
    > > > sense. I'd tend to assume that the writer is telling me it's not a
    > > > fruitbomb, it's not jammy, etc. It's not exact, but if I wanted
    > > > exactitude I'd just read a sheet with TA, ph, dry extract, abv, rs, A
    > > > lot of wine tasting notes is BS, but of what is left, the best (for my
    > > > tastes) uses metaphor, simile, poetry, and jokes.

    >
    > > > Greybeard,
    > > > reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It's the opposite of seeing
    > > > too much oxygen. Dr Lipton can explain better, but in the worse cases
    > > > of reduction you have mercaptans (in worse cases smells of rotten eggs
    > > > or burning rubbers). In lesser cases you get less objectionable,
    > > > especially sulphur (just lit matches) odors.
    > > > By the way, these things are pretty personal as to perception, and for
    > > > instance I am fairly insensitive to reductive aromas.

    >
    > > Greetings:

    >
    > > I have not posted to this group for several years, but I find this is
    > > an interesting thread! I have been a winemaker in Napa/Sonoma for
    > > many years, and currently I'm in the barrel business. I won't discuss
    > > oak at this time, but I want to expound a bit on oxidation and
    > > reduction.

    >
    > > Everything which has been explained is correct, except one comment
    > > which needs clarification, and I'll get to that at the end.

    >
    > > There is a whole sub-study of wine chemistry (and of chemistry in
    > > general) which is about "Redox" (oxidation vs. reduction). It is a
    > > delicate balance. It is of supreme importance, because wine is a
    > > fragile product and depending on cellar technique, wines could go off
    > > in either direction during cellaring at the winery.

    >
    > > Bottled wines also evolve in the same way, but mostly in the direction
    > > of oxidation as they age.

    >
    > > Oxidation obviously means what it says, We have all probably
    > > experienced oxidized wines at one time or another, because of loose
    > > corks or simply holding wines until they are past their peak. Proper
    > > storage is the issue here, keeping the cork wet and forming a tight
    > > seal by storing the bottle on its side. But temperature and sunlight
    > > are are also agents which hasten oxidation, and we don't need to get
    > > into that, because I think everyone knows about this.

    >
    > > One point I will make about bottled wines is that corks deteriorate
    > > over time, when they are constantly saturated. I opened some wines
    > > from the early '70s recently, whose corks simply fell apart as I used
    > > my corkscrew. They had been great wines in their time, but I'm glad I
    > > didn't bring them to a dinner party. Collectors of extremely rare and
    > > expensive wines should have them re-corked every 20 years or so, and
    > > the grand crus of Bordeaux offer this service on a periodic basis. If
    > > you re-cork one of these heirlooms, it must be done by the chateau to
    > > prevent fraud (and they do world tours, so you don't have to take your
    > > wine to France).

    >
    > > OK, so let's summarize oxidation. Ethyl alcohol, if in low
    > > concentrations like table wine (not in high proof spirits), will
    > > combine with oxygen to form acetaldehyde.

    >
    > > Acetaldehyde is the smell of sherry. Obviously, Sherry, Madeira, Vin
    > > Santo, tawny Port and old style Hungarian Tokaji are the deliberate
    > > work of winemakers to incorporate an oxidated aroma and taste to their
    > > wines. But the technique is finely controlled, and the most expert
    > > examples are marvels of complexity: at this low level, the aromas have
    > > an incredible nuttiness, like the hazel nut aromas in additives to
    > > coffee.

    >
    > > But it's an acquired taste. Some people can't stand sherry, and I
    > > don't blame them. I couldn't, for years. To subject clean fruit to
    > > this punishment is an abomination to some, but in Jerez and Tuscany
    > > it's an art. It all depends on one's tolerance for manipulated wine.
    > > Now, I think a fino sherry or an aged Tokaji are fabulous.

    >
    > > Then acetaldehyde, in the presence of more oxygen, becomes acetic
    > > acid, which is vinegar. No need to explain that. The process is
    > > sometimes hastened by the accidental or careless presence of
    > > acetobacter bacteria, but it will happen anyway. The term, "VA",
    > > meaning volatile acidity, is the wine tasters' term for wines which
    > > may not have gone all the way to vinegar, but have that piercing smell
    > > and a burning sense in the aftertaste. Some people actually appreciate
    > > minute traces of VA in a wine, because it may push the fruit forward
    > > slightly in the nose, but I don't. Tolerance levels vary among each of
    > > us.

    >
    > > It gets worse. The final stage gets ugly. Acetic acid molecules re-
    > > combine with ethyl alcohol to form ethyl acetate, which is the odor of
    > > nail polish remover. Wines like this have no redeeming social value.
    > > However, if this ever happens in a bottled wine, you wouldn't want to
    > > get near it; it's way too far gone.

    >
    > > So what are the benefits of oxidation? Oxygen doesn't only affect the
    > > alcohol part of a wine, it affects the total package. Slow oxidation
    > > (as in barrels) matures wine, makes it softer by cancelling out
    > > tannins. Tannins in red wines are the natural anti-oxidants, and so a
    > > careful introduction of oxygen is a good thing for youthful, robust
    > > red wines. In fact, for tank aged cheaper reds, there is a process
    > > called "micro-oxygenation" (developed in SW France around 1990, and
    > > now used everywhere), which incorporates something like a fish bubbler
    > > for aquariums. Oxygen is metered in slowly with a bubbler, and there's
    > > a whole technology and formulae about how much oxygen to introduce.

    >
    > > Moving on to the OPPOSITE side of the coin, because reduction is the
    > > literal opposite of oxidation: in the ABSENCE of oxygen, organic
    > > matter decomposes anerobically, producing hydrogen sulfide. The smell
    > > of the debris from a pond floor, or a swamp, is a perfect example.
    > > Wine tasters refer to this as the "rotten egg smell", because a
    > > decomposed egg yolk IS literally loaded with sulfur to produce H2S
    > > (why else the yellow color? I can't say)

    >
    > > Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae on the French
    > > beaches of Brittany this summer? They are deadly. Farmers are using
    > > too much nitrogen fertilizer, and the runoff from rain is causing
    > > enormous algae blooms off the beaches, and when the algae is washed
    > > ashore, it forms piles which release enormous quantities of hydrogen
    > > sulfide gas (H2S), which has actually killed several people.

    >
    > > The same takes place in the microcosm of a wine barrel. Winemakers are
    > > becoming more "natural", and leaving the wine on the lees (the spent
    > > yeast which forms a deposit in the bilge of a barrel), in the efforts
    > > of acquiring more character. For chardonnay, this is de regeur, and
    > > chardonnay producers often stir the lees on a regular basis, to
    > > acquire the aromas of yeast autolysis (which promotes the breakdown of
    > > the yeast, cracking open the yeast cells, yielding a wonderful,
    > > toasty, bready aroma, which has little to do with reduction).

    >
    > > But if left unattended, this spent yeast often decomposes into
    > > products which produce hydrogen sulfide. This is particularly true of
    > > red wines, because aside from the yeast, there are various solids from
    > > the grape skins which settle into the bottom of the barrel. Intensely
    > > pigmented wine such as syrah is especially prone to reduction. I
    > > hardly ever notice H2S in light red wines such as pinot noir.

    >
    > > So what do we have? H2S, hydrogen sulfide, the rotten egg smell,
    > > which is not toxic in these trace amounts, but enough to be an
    > > annoyance. Oxygen in the early stages may take care of the matter.
    > > This is why classic French cellar technique is to "rack" the barrels,
    > > that is, to transfer the wine out of the barrel into a tank or another
    > > barrel, to get it off the lees. Bordelais tradition was once every
    > > trimester during the first year (which also involves having the wine
    > > exposed to air), and little or no racking during the second year,
    > > because the wine by then was presumed "clean".

    >
    > > For persistent H2S problems in the winery, winemakers have used copper
    > > sulfate (commonly used in sewage treatment), but any amount over 1 ppm
    > > is detectable in sensory analysis and legally on shaky ground.

    >
    > > I used it only once, on a freshly fermented wine, theorizing that the
    > > cupric sulfide product of chemical bonds would adhere to the suspended
    > > yeast and settle out as a precipitate with the lees. My hunch was
    > > confirmed on subsequent analysis!

    >
    > > If you are getting real, honest-to-goodness rotten egg smell in a
    > > bottled red wine, it probably means the wine was unfiltered, and there
    > > are probably deposits in the bottle which produced this in situ, not
    > > necessarily at the winery.

    >
    > > But the issue and the definition raised here in the post I am replying
    > > to, is what is reduction in most bottled wine? It's not H2S. It's
    > > what the writer referred to as the "rubbery" smell. This is not H2S,
    > > it's ethyl mercaptans. This, like ethyl acetate in oxidation, is when
    > > the ethyl alcohol molecule bonds with H2S, and we have a whole
    > > different animal here.

    >
    > > The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    > > match is incorrect. Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide.
    > > Not the same thing at all. SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    > > operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    > > product of fermentation. SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    > > that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    > > should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.

    >
    > > Present technology is looking for ways to eliminate SO2 additions,
    > > although it has been used in wines for thousands of years.

    >
    > > Mercaptans, that rubbery smell, is nearly impossible to treat at the
    > > winery. There is a chemical treatment involving use of a cyanide
    > > compound, but the application has to be stoichiometrically perfect,
    > > and I'm almost sure it's not even legal anymore. Best to dump the
    > > wine, or sell it off in bulk, to disappear in a giant million gallon
    > > blend.

    >
    > > Please, nobody get the impression that most modern wines are
    > > manipulated this way! Wine technology has progressed a long way since
    > > I was in the field, and more careful practices in the vineyard,
    > > involving vine nutrition, etc., and in the cellar, are making wines
    > > cleaner and cleaner. Wine remains essentially a natural product. I
    > > merely wanted to present a discussion of redox from the winery point
    > > of view.

    >
    > > However, I still taste $5 reds (imports) which I know were treated
    > > with copper, and cheap white wines which I know were hit with SO2 to
    > > knock down aldehydes, but these wines are probably not what this
    > > newsgroup is drinking, anyway.

    >
    > > --Bob

    >
    > Bob,
    > * *Thank you for your wonderfully informative post. *Welcome back!


    Bi!!--

    Thank you, I am glad to be back! I drifted away from this group some
    years ago, because while I enjoy the commentary and discussion about
    food and wine recommendations, I'm not really a collector. I have very
    little to contribute about specific wines and vintages, although I
    know most of the wines which are mentioned.

    I taste so many wines each year that it all becomes a blur. I used to
    keep a tasting notebook, but I finally threw up my hands: so many
    wines, so little time! Furthermore, I live in a small Napa Valley
    wine/tourist town, and so I don't have access to purchase many of the
    wines which are discussed, but if you say, "Morey St. Denis from
    Dujac", or "Cote Rotie from Guigal", or the latest garnacha or
    albarino from Spain, or the hottest New Zealand sauvignon blanc from
    Cloudy Bay, I'll know what you mean, because I have tasted prior
    vintages from that estate or I am familiar with the wine type.

    It's odd, living in wine country and not being able to buy the wines
    which are discussed! But not really. It's the same in Bordeaux. You
    can't buy a Burgundy in Bordeaux to save your life. The only out of
    town wine you can sometimes find in Bordeaux is Sancerre, because it
    matches so well with their Aquitaine seafood. And wines from the
    Dordogne (Bergerac, Cahors) and Languedoc-Rousillon are big now,
    because they are affordable.

    We are insular. The local retailers focus on selling the local
    product for the visitors who make pilgrimages here. I live within
    walking distance of Dean & DeLuca, one of the best New York wine
    merchants with a branch here, but all of the wines are Californian.

    I met some of you in real life when you visited our wine country a
    few years ago, and it was a rare pleasure.

    --Bob

  17. #17
    graham Guest

    Default Re: jargon


    "Bobchai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]..


    Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae on the French
    beaches of Brittany this summer? They are deadly. Farmers are using
    too much nitrogen fertilizer, and the runoff from rain is causing
    enormous algae blooms off the beaches, and when the algae is washed
    ashore, it forms piles which release enormous quantities of hydrogen
    sulfide gas (H2S), which has actually killed several people.
    __________________________________________________ __

    The death of one horse has been blamed on the decomposing seaweed but
    AFAIAA, no humans have died.

    Environmentalists (who are rarely good scientisits, IME, and who are fond of
    hyperbole) have blamed it on intensive livestock operations in Brittany,
    not overuse of fertilisers.

    However, one has to be careful of media hype. 35 years ago, the
    eutropification of Lake Michigan was blamed on farmers using too much
    fertiliser. However, it was pointed out that the population along the
    shores of the lake had increased greatly during the century and human sewage
    was at least equally the cause - but that didn't get much coverage.
    Graham



  18. #18
    Mike Tommasi Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    graham wrote:
    > "Bobchai" <bar[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > Has anyone read about the piles of decomposing algae


    You are off topic...

    --
    Mike Tommasi - Six Fours, France
    email link http://www.tommasi.org/mymail

  19. #19
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Aug 30, 7:39*am, Bobchai <barrel...@gmail.com> wrote:
    > The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    > match is incorrect. *Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide.
    > Not the same thing at all. *SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    > operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    > product of fermentation. *SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    > that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    > should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.
    >


    Bob (you're less formal than you used to be! )

    Welcome back, and thanks for the informative post. I'm sorry if you
    read my "just lit matches" comment as referring to H2S, I just meant
    that people often refer to the smell of sulphur as reductive. As
    noted, I find that far less troublesome, and even in fairly extreme
    cases (Prum) it blows off in a few minutes (or you can try a penny). I
    don't regard SO2 as a flaw.

    ) odors.

  20. #20
    DaleW Guest

    Default Re: jargon

    On Sep 1, 3:06*pm, DaleW <Dwmi...@aol.com> wrote:
    > On Aug 30, 7:39*am, Bobchai <barrel...@gmail.com> wrote:
    >
    > > The statement by the previous writer that H2S smells like a burnt
    > > match is incorrect. *Now you're talking about SO2, sulfur dioxide.
    > > Not the same thing at all. *SO2 remains a critical part of winemaking
    > > operations, and while it is an additive, it's also a natural by-
    > > product of fermentation. *SO2 is a whole other topic, except to say
    > > that it is the best antioxidant in a winemaker's arsenal, which I
    > > should have mentioned in a previous paragraph.

    >
    > Bob (you're less formal than you used to be! )
    >
    > Welcome back, and thanks for the informative post. I'm sorry if you
    > read my "just lit matches" comment as referring to H2S, I just meant
    > that people often refer to the smell of sulphur *as reductive. As
    > noted, I find that far less troublesome, and even in fairly extreme
    > cases (Prum) it blows off in a few minutes (or you can try a penny). I
    > don't regard SO2 as a flaw.
    >
    > ) odors.


    PS I should note that I'm pretty sulphur insensitive, and others might
    regard these wines as flawed (Pierre Rovani famously did while
    reviewing German Riesling for WA).

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