Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

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Brandon R
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Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#1 Post by Brandon R » January 17th, 2019, 3:48 pm

I see notes here and there mentioning wines that have too much volatile acidity. I'm sure I've had wines with elevated VA, but I can't say that I definitively know what VA "tastes" like. In a tasting, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the guy saying, "Ah-ha! Too much VA here." I've had overly bretty wines, corked wines, and cooked wines and was able to identify them as such pretty quickly. So I know what to look for going forward, I'd like to try a wine where the consensus is that it's full of volatile acidity.

Can anyone recommend a current release, relatively easily found wine that shows lots of obvious VA?
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#2 Post by Michael S. Monie » January 17th, 2019, 3:58 pm

I've always considered VA as more of a smell than a taste. Think fingernail polish remover.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#3 Post by Anton D » January 17th, 2019, 4:03 pm

I think of it as an intermittent flaw I encounter, so I can't name a wine to go looking for it, but...

Pour a glass of house wine, add 1 drop soy sauce.

If it doesn't strike your palate, go to 2 drops.

I think that would be a decent way to start to play with this for fun.

Perhaps also play with some cheap red wine vinegar or dill pickle juice drops in the same fashion.

Seriously, one drop at a time.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#4 Post by Nate Simon » January 17th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Is Pegau considered VA-ridden, or just stinky NOS?

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#5 Post by Markus S » January 17th, 2019, 4:27 pm

Hmmm...ones that usually have higher VA: Emidio Pepe, some Musar (but they've cleaned up recently)...
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#6 Post by Wes Barton » January 17th, 2019, 5:23 pm

VA is the all encompassing term, but also sometimes used for specifically acetic acid, though often there's more than one culprit at work. Since acetic acid is vinegar, you can do Anton's trick, but I'd suggest white wine vinegar to avoid adding other elements. The other major player is ethyl acetate (EA). IMO, if that's what you detect, call it EA. The signature smell is nail polish remover (for which it's usually the key ingredient). At a high level, it's very obvious what it is. At a lower level, to me, in some wines it comes across as Elmer's glue. Blech!

People's sensitivities to these vary. So do preferences. Being volatile, they can lift a wine's aromatics, so at a low level can be a positive. I have friends who are very sensitive to VA and hate it at any level, while I often like a little. With EA, I can't stand any amount, while many others don't mind quite a lot in the least.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#7 Post by kyledorsey » January 17th, 2019, 5:35 pm

A lot of old-school Piedmont has a touch of VA. A little can bring forth a lot of interesting aromatics, but a lot can mask everything else.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#8 Post by PeterH » January 17th, 2019, 5:51 pm

The usual culprits are high alcohol, low acid red wines, more often from places in Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. where not every winery is up to modern clean standards.
Those same conditions favor brett, so the two are often found together. Most likely place to find it in an otherwise clean wine is in New World higher proof red wines, especially low to mid priced wines rated higher than you would expect by WA and WS. After learning my lesson, I try to avoid these types of wines, so I can't recommend a specific new release.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#9 Post by Anton D » January 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm

There is an awesome old Bob Johnson cartoon from the Pacific Wine Company days, but I can't find it!!! [head-bang.gif]
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#10 Post by B. Buzzini » January 17th, 2019, 6:19 pm

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#11 Post by Rich Salsano » January 17th, 2019, 6:22 pm

Coturri zins
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#12 Post by GregP » January 17th, 2019, 6:30 pm

Most Tokaj sweets do. Main reason I stopped buying and drinking them a while ago, just not my thing.

Cotturi, Pegau, Musar, that's brett.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#13 Post by AlexS » January 17th, 2019, 6:39 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 4:12 pm
Is Pegau considered VA-ridden, or just stinky NOS?
Never heard of VA as flaw in Pegau, mainly just brett.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#14 Post by AlexS » January 17th, 2019, 6:40 pm

Of course, perhaps the most famous/infamous example of VA in any wine is the 1997 Harlan.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#15 Post by AlexS » January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm

Speaking of "nebulous" flaws, here's how I tend to interpret them:

1. VA

Smells like acetate nail polish remover, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

2. Brett

Smells like farm, farm manure, sweaty band-aid, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

3. Reduction

Smells like sulfur, burning rubber, sewage, etc.; sometimes goes away with air.
Last edited by AlexS on January 18th, 2019, 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#16 Post by Larry Link » January 17th, 2019, 7:17 pm

Try any Behrens and Hitchcock wine from 99-04. Parker loved them, and they were mostly overripe 16+% alcohol, VA laden science experiments. They also used a plastic cork to add an extra dimension to the VA.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#17 Post by Dennis Borczon » January 17th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Just get a 15% Aussie Shiraz from the late 90's early 2000's. Many I've opened with some age smell like a nail salon. Highest rate of VA wines ever. Have to love VA to collect these. Probably my biggest wine regret was following the Parker Pied Piper chasing after these. Have almost cleared my cellar, still a few left...

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#18 Post by PeterH » January 17th, 2019, 9:00 pm

GregP wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:30 pm
Most Tokaj sweets do. Main reason I stopped buying and drinking them a while ago, just not my thing.

Cotturi, Pegau, Musar, that's brett.
Come to think of it, 2003 Sauternes, or almost any 2003 wine period. That is not a recent release, though.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#19 Post by Randall B. » January 17th, 2019, 9:16 pm

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso. I really like this wine, but it tends to show a good deal of VA.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#20 Post by John Morris » January 17th, 2019, 9:16 pm

Anton D wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm
There is an awesome old Bob Johnson cartoon from the Pacific Wine Company days, but I can't find it!!! [head-bang.gif]
I have a stash of his stuff, but I don't remember one on VA.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#21 Post by John Morris » January 17th, 2019, 9:18 pm

GregP wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:30 pm
Cotturi, Pegau, Musar, that's brett.
I think Cotturis can have a lot of VA, and certainly Musar historically had a lot of acetic acid. I made my own vinegar for years, and I was put off by many Musars!
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#22 Post by John Morris » January 17th, 2019, 9:19 pm

kyledorsey wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 5:35 pm
A lot of old-school Piedmont has a touch of VA. A little can bring forth a lot of interesting aromatics, but a lot can mask everything else.
Yes. Also a lot of Rhones, particularly southern, grenache-based ones (low acid, high alcohol). A '98 Beaucastel this week had oodles of ethyl acetate/nail polish. Sadly, it also had some TCA. The good news: the brett wasn't conspicuous.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#23 Post by jcoley3 » January 17th, 2019, 10:06 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 9:19 pm
kyledorsey wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 5:35 pm
A lot of old-school Piedmont has a touch of VA. A little can bring forth a lot of interesting aromatics, but a lot can mask everything else.
Yes. Also a lot of Rhones, particularly southern, grenache-based ones (low acid, high alcohol). A '98 Beaucastel this week had oodles of ethyl acetate/nail polish. Sadly, it also had some TCA. The good news: the brett wasn't conspicuous.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#24 Post by Anton D » January 17th, 2019, 10:56 pm

John Morris wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 9:16 pm
Anton D wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm
There is an awesome old Bob Johnson cartoon from the Pacific Wine Company days, but I can't find it!!! [head-bang.gif]
I have a stash of his stuff, but I don't remember one on VA.
.

As I recall, it had a giant “man monster” in a sweater vest saying, “Overtones of ethyl acetate!”
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#25 Post by GregP » January 17th, 2019, 11:01 pm

jcoley3 wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 10:06 pm
John Morris wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 9:19 pm
kyledorsey wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 5:35 pm
A lot of old-school Piedmont has a touch of VA. A little can bring forth a lot of interesting aromatics, but a lot can mask everything else.
Yes. Also a lot of Rhones, particularly southern, grenache-based ones (low acid, high alcohol). A '98 Beaucastel this week had oodles of ethyl acetate/nail polish. Sadly, it also had some TCA. The good news: the brett wasn't conspicuous.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#26 Post by Steve Slatcher » January 18th, 2019, 5:00 am

AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm
1. VA

Smells like acetone, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.
VA mainly smells of ethyl acetate in my experience. That is the reaction product of acetic acid and ethanol. But VA itself is actually mainly actic acid, and you may smell that too.

Ethyl acetate is used in nail polish and nail polish remover, but they may also be based on other solvents. I believe nail polish is usually of ethyl acetate. But the remover will more likey use other solvents, including acetone (and can also have added frgrances). However, acetone smells completely unlike ethyl acetate, and it does not figure in wine chemistry.

Yes, I know a lot of seemingly authoritative sources DO assiciate VA with acetone, but thry are wrong.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#27 Post by Jason T » January 18th, 2019, 5:18 am

I’d never encountered VA in person, only read about it on this board. Then I popped a bottle one day and there it was, nail polish. It really jumped out- was distinct from the wine itself and as Alex pointed out is quite different from other flaws. I don’t have a huge frame of reference though for whether that bottle was badly hit or I’m just senesitive.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#28 Post by Kevin Porter » January 18th, 2019, 5:31 am

AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:39 pm
Nate Simon wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 4:12 pm
Is Pegau considered VA-ridden, or just stinky NOS?
Never heard of VA as flaw in Pegau, mainly just brett.
Timely - Alex is right that common complaint about Pegau is brett but I drank a 2003 last weekend that had no horse but plenty of nail polish remover.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#29 Post by Brian Tuite » January 18th, 2019, 5:47 am

Brandon R wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 3:48 pm
I see notes here and there mentioning wines that have too much volatile acidity. I'm sure I've had wines with elevated VA, but I can't say that I definitively know what VA "tastes" like. In a tasting, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the guy saying, "Ah-ha! Too much VA here." I've had overly bretty wines, corked wines, and cooked wines and was able to identify them as such pretty quickly. So I know what to look for going forward, I'd like to try a wine where the consensus is that it's full of volatile acidity.

Can anyone recommend a current release, relatively easily found wine that shows lots of obvious VA?
2015 A. Viloria Syrah - you would have to contact the winemaker directly but this is a perfect example. anthony at aviloriawinery dot com
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#30 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 18th, 2019, 5:50 am

AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm
Speaking of "nebulous" flaws, here's how I tend to interpret them:

1. VA

Smells like acetone, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

2. Brett

Smells like farm, farm manure, sweaty band-aid, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

3. Reduction

Smells like sulfur, burning rubber, sewage, etc.; does not always go away with air.
I added an important clarification to reduction. Not all reductive wines are salvageable.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#31 Post by Kelly Walker » January 18th, 2019, 5:51 am

Not cheap or recent but for me the poster child for VA is 1997 Harlan. I have heard people say they have had clean bottles but every one I have encountered was a massive VA bomb.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#32 Post by Otto Forsberg » January 18th, 2019, 6:17 am

In case OP was looking for wines that have "too much VA", I must comment that I see many people list here different wines as examples with "too much VA" whereas I find them most of them very tolerable. Of course one's mileage can vary and apparently I can tolerate quite copious amounts of VA - even though I find it easy to detect it in even most minute quantities as well. For example many Musars do have quite a bit of VA, but even though one vintage 1995 red had a noticeable nail polish character in the nose at first, the wine was still very lovely and far from excessively volatile. Still Musar isn't that reliable a wine to look for VA, because many vintages don't show any volatile character at all.

Just for curiosity's sake, some wines that have been excessively volatile even for my taste (they might be quite hard to come by):
Gaia Vinsanto 2005 (Well, this was also very delicious. Smells like raisins with a fresh layer of nail polish. Delicious and complex on its own, but tasted only of VA with cheese - all the other flavors took a step back and the nail polish character just blew out of proportion).
Jean-Marc Brignot Robert est un con (Heavily volatile with tons of nail polish and vinegary VA).
Sebastien Riffault Les Quarterons Pinot Noir 2010 and Raudonas 2011 (Both were pretty lovely at first, but after only a few hours they were way too vinegary).
Also lots of 1960's Nebbiolos from producers like Nervi, Produttori del Barbaresco, Produttori di Carema, Vallana...

While visiting Santorini, I noticed that many producers had quite elevated levels of VA in their Vinsantos. Not all of the producers, however - some made very clean wines without a trace of VA. The Gaia Vinsanto mentioned above was probably the most extreme example of the style. Usually they tended to show very high levels of ethyl acetate, i.e. smelling and tasting of how nail polish smells like.

If one is interested to taste acetic character that's an inherent part of the style, Rodenbach Vintage ale (or Rodenbach Grand Cru, if you're in a pinch) shows quite noticeable acetic character. The beers have a noticeably vinegary nose, sweet taste of balsamico and they have that slightly unpleasant vinegary roughness and heat in your throat when you swallow them - yet they are some of the most delicious beers in existence.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#33 Post by Markus S » January 18th, 2019, 6:49 am

Jason T wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 5:18 am
I’d never encountered VA in person, only read about it on this board. Then I popped a bottle one day and there it was, nail polish. It really jumped out- was distinct from the wine itself and as Alex pointed out is quite different from other flaws. I don’t have a huge frame of reference though for whether that bottle was badly hit or I’m just senesitive.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#34 Post by Markus S » January 18th, 2019, 6:52 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 5:50 am
AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm
Speaking of "nebulous" flaws, here's how I tend to interpret them:

1. VA

Smells like acetone, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

2. Brett

Smells like farm, farm manure, sweaty band-aid, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

3. Reduction

Smells like sulfur, burning rubber, sewage, etc.; does not always go away with air.
I added an important clarification to reduction. Not all reductive wines are salvageable.
Indeed. I've have reduced wines which did not 'blow off'. Sometimes they remain stinking festering garbage pits.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#35 Post by Brandon R » January 18th, 2019, 9:03 am

Wow, you folks are great. Thanks for the helpful information so far and for the suggestions. I'm going to do a little shopping.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#36 Post by Doug Schulman » January 18th, 2019, 9:12 am

You're probably seeing a theme that the wines with obvious VA tend to be relatively high in price. Mass-produced wines tend to be very clean, especially from the New World. It's the small production stuff that can get funky. Coturri is probably the easiest place to find it, and not just their Zins. I've found it in several of their reds. I think it's common in most vintages of Musar before 2000, definitely 1995 and back, but those get pricey. There are many wines I've dumped down the drain because of ethyl acetate, including several from Dettori and Gravner, but again, not cheap.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#37 Post by Ron Slye » January 18th, 2019, 9:47 am

This is quite informative, and definitely reveals a mistaken impression I have been under for many years. When I have a bottle of wine that has that strong nail polish smell, I just assumed it was over the hill, gone bad, or was always bad. Yes, I know, we all have different preferences and clearly I do not like this flavor, but I always thought it was a flaw and usually just poured the wine down the drain or used it for cooking. I don't recall that the wines were the most expensive I have ever had. My impression is that I had waited to long too drink them (so they must have had some age on them), or they were bottles I had opened, not finished the bottle (!), and let sit on the counter for a few days -- thus I assumed they had just gone bad.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#38 Post by Markus S » January 18th, 2019, 10:27 am

Ron Slye wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 9:47 am
This is quite informative, and definitely reveals a mistaken impression I have been under for many years. When I have a bottle of wine that has that strong nail polish smell, I just assumed it was over the hill, gone bad, or was always bad. Yes, I know, we all have different preferences and clearly I do not like this flavor, but I always thought it was a flaw and usually just poured the wine down the drain or used it for cooking. I don't recall that the wines were the most expensive I have ever had. My impression is that I had waited to long too drink them (so they must have had some age on them), or they were bottles I had opened, not finished the bottle (!), and let sit on the counter for a few days -- thus I assumed they had just gone bad.
There are certain styles or types of wines that will have certain characteristics that a population of people simply hate, for instance the petrol/diesel flavors of (very) mature riesling or the 'Sous voile' styled wines of Jura (or Sherry). Some will look for these characteristics and be disappointed when they cannot find them while others will think "what the hell is this?". All part of the fun world of wines!
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#39 Post by Alan Rath » January 18th, 2019, 10:32 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 5:00 am
AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm
1. VA

Smells like acetone, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.
VA mainly smells of ethyl acetate in my experience. That is the reaction product of acetic acid and ethanol. But VA itself is actually mainly acetic acid, and you may smell that too.

Ethyl acetate is used in nail polish and nail polish remover, but they may also be based on other solvents. I believe nail polish is usually of ethyl acetate. But the remover will more likey use other solvents, including acetone (and can also have added frgrances). However, acetone smells completely unlike ethyl acetate, and it does not figure in wine chemistry.

Yes, I know a lot of seemingly authoritative sources DO assiciate VA with acetone, but thry are wrong.
This. I actually think it's rare to find wines that are obviously flawed where the dominant flaw is acetic acid. Much more likely in my own experience to be ethyl acetate (which is not an acid, but is nevertheless quite volatile and has a distinct aroma).

As Steve says, the best way to learn the smell is to find a bottle of nail polish remover that is mostly ethyl acetate (most are some mix of EA and acetone). Trying to find EA in a random wine will be difficult.

The wines I've had that are most noticeably contaminated with ethyl acetate have had failed corks of some kind. One in particular had a crease in the cork from bottling, so a tiny channel that let air in slowly over many years. That bottle wreaked of EA.

The other most common mechanism, in my understanding, is from riper grapes that stay too long on the vine, or sit in bins after picking too long before being processed. Bad things start to happen before proper alcoholic fermentation, and you get an overabundance of EA.

I do believe I've smelled acetone in some wines, but it is exceedingly rare.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#40 Post by AlexS » January 18th, 2019, 10:43 am

Appreciate the clarification on acetone vs. acetate, will update my post above.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#41 Post by cjsadler » January 18th, 2019, 10:56 am

Start trying some natural reds. It's been my experience that you'll quickly come across one with serious VA.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#42 Post by GregT » January 18th, 2019, 1:12 pm

The usual culprits are high alcohol, low acid red wines, more often from places in Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. where not every winery is up to modern clean standards.
Not sure I agree with that. Lopez de Heredia is an example of a wine that often has VA, Emidio Pepe is another that comes to mind, some of Thackery's wines in CA are some others. I don't think it's associated with low acid, more with clean winemaking. I believe that both acetic acid and ethyl acetate are produced by the same bacteria, which is something that proponents of clean winemaking want to control.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#43 Post by Wes Barton » January 18th, 2019, 1:59 pm

GregT wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 1:12 pm
The usual culprits are high alcohol, low acid red wines, more often from places in Spain, Italy, Greece, etc. where not every winery is up to modern clean standards.
Not sure I agree with that. Lopez de Heredia is an example of a wine that often has VA, Emidio Pepe is another that comes to mind, some of Thackery's wines in CA are some others. I don't think it's associated with low acid, more with clean winemaking. I believe that both acetic acid and ethyl acetate are produced by the same bacteria, which is something that proponents of clean winemaking want to control.
Those would be statistically relevant factors. The later you pick, the more likely there will be bird and/or insect damage. (Also, as senescence begins, the grapes start losing their ability to defend their undamaged surfaces.) Fruit flies, bees and wasps are acetobacter vectors, and will introduce them to damaged grapes. Basically, you can start a ferment with a massive dose of VA. A good sorting regime can eliminate most of that, and activity can be stopped with a nuking of SO2.

Yes, they are related, on the same chemical pathways. They are also part of wine yeast biochemical pathway, where they are produced and immediately reconsumed as part of the fermentation process. But, in an unhealthy ferment where the yeast are under stress, they may not be reconsumed. That's usually due to a nutrient deficiency. Mid-ferment all you have to do is add the needed nutrients and perhaps a more aggressive yeast, and the VA goes away (assuming you caught it right away). If it crops up later on, the yeast won't fix it for you. And, that can happen if fruit flies have access to your must. Most winemakers are diligent in protecting against that happening. Most.

Speaking of fruit flies - if you get one in your glass, you'll often pick up VA in the wine very quickly. The acetobacter is spread across the surface and acts quickly, so you can smell it right away.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#44 Post by Kevin Porter » January 18th, 2019, 2:04 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 1:59 pm
Speaking of fruit flies - if you get one in your glass, you'll often pick up VA in the wine very quickly. The acetobacter is spread across the surface and acts quickly, so you can smell it right away.
The perfect answer for OP!

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#45 Post by Steve Slatcher » January 18th, 2019, 2:29 pm

It is now a long time since I have smelled nal polishes and nail polish removers, so the formulations may have changed. But when I did, the nail polish itself was a lot more likely to be ethyl acetate based than the remover. Often the remover smelled of neither ethyl acerate nor acetone. Pure acetone BTW is very upleasant to sniff directly - irritating to the nose, and best avoided.

GregT
I believe the bacteria do not produce ethyl acetate directly, but a proportion of any acetic acid in wine will very quickly react to give ethyl acetate, so it has the same result.

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If you say you have smelled acetone on wine I will not argue with your experience, but I doubt it actually WAS acetone and rather something that smelled similar. Difficult to prove a negative, but I've seen no mention of acetone in wine chemistry books and articles, and neither has an enologist I discussed this with

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#46 Post by Steve Slatcher » January 18th, 2019, 2:38 pm

Fruit flies may carry acetobacteria, but they are also attracted to ethyl acetate. So if you have a fruit fly in your wine and it smells of ethyl acetate, the ethyl acetate could be both cause and/or effect.

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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#47 Post by Alan Rath » January 18th, 2019, 3:20 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 2:29 pm
It is now a long time since I have smelled nal polishes and nail polish removers, so the formulations may have changed. But when I did, the nail polish itself was a lot more likely to be ethyl acetate based than the remover. Often the remover smelled of neither ethyl acerate nor acetone. Pure acetone BTW is very upleasant to sniff directly - irritating to the nose, and best avoided.

GregT
I believe the bacteria do not produce ethyl acetate directly, but a proportion of any acetic acid in wine will very quickly react to give ethyl acetate, so it has the same result.

Alan Rath
If you say you have smelled acetone on wine I will not argue with your experience, but I doubt it actually WAS acetone and rather something that smelled similar. Difficult to prove a negative, but I've seen no mention of acetone in wine chemistry books and articles, and neither has an enologist I discussed this with
It certainly used to be true that a lot of removers were a mix. As I look online now, it seems more are mostly acetone, and the Cutex non-acetone remover is methyl not ethyl acetate.

As a chemist, I've had plenty of experience with acetone in the lab, though not so much in recent years. I'd say it's a not-unattractive aroma, with somehow a kind of sweet sensation, but you don't want to take big whiffs, for sure.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#48 Post by GregP » January 18th, 2019, 3:40 pm

Markus S wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 6:52 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 5:50 am
AlexS wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 6:44 pm
Speaking of "nebulous" flaws, here's how I tend to interpret them:

1. VA

Smells like acetone, acetic acid/vinegar, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

2. Brett

Smells like farm, farm manure, sweaty band-aid, etc.; doesn't go away with air.

3. Reduction

Smells like sulfur, burning rubber, sewage, etc.; does not always go away with air.
I added an important clarification to reduction. Not all reductive wines are salvageable.
Indeed. I've have reduced wines which did not 'blow off'. Sometimes they remain stinking festering garbage pits.
There is a difference, large one IMO, between reductive notes and those of mercaptans. Reduction blows off, always, with air contact. Mercaptans are a major fault in wine.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#49 Post by Wes Barton » January 18th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 2:38 pm
Fruit flies may carry acetobacteria, but they are also attracted to ethyl acetate. So if you have a fruit fly in your wine and it smells of ethyl acetate, the ethyl acetate could be both cause and/or effect.
I'll be more clear: I taste in wineries all the time. Fruit flies are more something you control, rather than eliminate. So, during harvest season you may have lids of some fashion on your glasses to keep them out. If one gets in, and it's carrying a significant amount of acetobacter, the effect on the wine is almost instantaneous, so you have a before and after. You can pour a fresh glass and smell them side-by-side.
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Re: Want to taste a wine with obvious VA...in the name of learning...

#50 Post by Ron Slye » January 18th, 2019, 7:46 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 5:04 pm
Steve Slatcher wrote:
January 18th, 2019, 2:38 pm
Fruit flies may carry acetobacteria, but they are also attracted to ethyl acetate. So if you have a fruit fly in your wine and it smells of ethyl acetate, the ethyl acetate could be both cause and/or effect.
I'll be more clear: I taste in wineries all the time. Fruit flies are more something you control, rather than eliminate. So, during harvest season you may have lids of some fashion on your glasses to keep them out. If one gets in, and it's carrying a significant amount of acetobacter, the effect on the wine is almost instantaneous, so you have a before and after. You can pour a fresh glass and smell them side-by-side.
This sounds like the cheapest answer for the OP!

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