Wine faults #2

Second week of our trepidatious venture into the Stygian world of wine flaws.

• Oxygen cataclysm. Your white wine is brownish, ruddy and smells like cider. Your red is brick-orange and lifeless and flat. Oxygen is the culprit.

Oxidation can begin in the winery or within hours after you open the bottle. When buying by the glass in restaurant or wine bar, inquire when the bottle was opened. If the wine arrives as described above and they told you they just opened it, shun them forevermore.

Packaging also is a cause. Wines in a box stays good for six weeks or more after first pour because the wine bag prevents oxidation, but the bag itself allows oxygen exchange, so unopened it has a shorter shelf life than bottled wine. If the wine is just off the shelf and current vintage, then the producer screwed up.

This is a moderate flaw, not necessarily a killer. If it is drinkable, do so. If not, you can make vinegar, and that goes good on salad.

• Devilish reduction. Presents as struck match, rubber, or rotten eggs. Don’t take a deep breath and it likely will be okay.

Reduction is the opposite of oxidation. It occurs during winemaking when a too-limited exposure to oxygen engenders volatile sulfur compounds. Winemakers use sulphur to preserve wine, especially white wine, preserve fruit aromas, and add complexity. At low levels, you get the struck match or gunflint. Higher levels usher in rotten eggs and garlic. Good news: this semi-flaw is very unusual for wines from commercial wineries. If it bothers you, allow the wine some air and offending aromas will blow off, or toss a clean copper penny in the wine. Yeah. It really works.

Tasting notes:

• Viña San Pedro GatoNegro 9 Lives Reserve Malbec 2017: Simple, delicious easy drinker; amazing value. $8-11 Link to my review

• Castillo Monjardin Chardonnay El Cerezo 2017: Wonderfully fruit-forward expression of warm-weather chardonnay with no oak or butter to interfere with the fruit. $8-11 Link to my review

• Falesco Vitiano Bianco Umbria IGT 2016: Mellow, fresh fruits, superb acidity. $9-12
Link to my review

• Bodegas Martín Códax Albariño, Rías Baixas 2016: Fantastically food friendly. $14-17 Link to my review

• Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC 2016: Versatile, smooth, pure expression of pinot grigio fruit. $17-18 Link to my review

• Michael David Winery Cinsault Rosé, Lodi 2017: Tasty rosé; grapes from the oldest cinsault vineyard on earth. $25-26 Link to my review

Last round: Dinosaurs did not have wine. How did that work out for them? Just saying.