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Common wine ‘flaws’ and wine faults – a guide

Like Marmite, we might have to agree to disagree when it comes to our own tolerance for wine faults. Either way, love them or hate them, it’s useful to know more about the ‘flaws’ you may encounter, says Natasha Hughes MW

Wine faults: Undeniable flaws

A chemical by the name of 2, 4, 6- trichloroanisole, or TCA, cops most of the blame for cork taint. The truth is there’s a whole family of compounds that can cause a wine to smell musty, or at the very least mask its fruit.

If you thought you might have detected an aroma similar to root vegetables in recent vintages of Loire Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadet, you’re not wrong. Vineyards in this region (and parts of Chablis, Bordeaux and Beaujolais) have been affected by geosmin, an earthy character derived from fungal infections.

Although some wines – particularly light, crisp whites such as Vinho Verde and young Rieslings – have a prickle of spritz on the palate, no still wine should contain bubbles. If yours does, the chances are that the wine still had some residual sugar and yeast left in it at the time of bottling, and is now refermenting in the bottle.

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