It tastes cheap! But what does it really mean? Here's everything you need to know about one of the most common wine defects. To recognize it and also fix it.
If at a tasting someone says "it tastes like reduction", here's what you need to know to recognize the defect and remedy it.
In the wine world, what does “reduced” mean?
The term refers to a chemical reduction : technically the wine gains electrons and becomes oxygen deficient . The opposite is oxidation, in which electrons are lost.
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What are reduction notes?
The reduced smell is recognizable because it is rather particular although varied. A wine that smells of reduction can be recognized by these odors: it smells " closed ", boiled , putrid cabbage, onion , garlic , sulphurous sensations or even rotten eggs .
With practice, you learn that there are also other descriptors that define the reduction process, so you can limit yourself to saying that a wine is reduced, without specifying the descriptors.
Which wines does the smell of reduced affect?
It should be noted that today the incidence of the problem in wine is much lower than in past decades. The problem more often afflicts poorly aged wines , because the environment of the bottle closed for a long time is not ideal: this is why, as soon as opened, certain wines are not immediately pleasant. Percentage wise, it affects white wines more than red wines, perhaps because the latter are given much more oxygen during fermentation and maceration.
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Which substances are responsible for bad odors in a reduced wine?
The compounds responsible for the unpleasant odors of a reduced wine are some molecules containing sulphur , which replace oxygen: these are what give the wine the bad smell.
How is the reduced smell created?
When a wine undergoes reduction processes it has tended to have problems during alcoholic fermentation , for example if the fermentation was carried out at too high a temperature, too quickly, or if there were biological contaminations.
Much rarer, but the "reduced" effect can also develop after exposing the wine to light and in particular to UV rays. This problem is prevented by using dark glass bottles.
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Is there a link between reduction and closure of wine with screw cap?
Yes, the reduction effect has a greater percentage impact on bottles closed with screw caps , where less oxygen passes than in cork closures. But this only happens if the wine has matured those conditions to become one, that is, if it possesses the "precursors of reduction", which tend to be created during fermentation.
Are there remedies for reduced odor?
The reductive notes of the wine, if not serious, can go away with oxygenation: the advice is to aerate it using a glass larger than the decanter . But if after half an hour of oxygenation these smells disappear we are faced with a definitive defect.