Matchstick reduction

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Tariq K
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Matchstick reduction

#1 Post by Tariq K » January 4th, 2019, 5:13 pm

Having an Oregon Pinot Noir this evening with some slight reductive sulfur notes (Failla Bjornson 2016). Not enough to be problematic but enough that I notice - and potentially a sign that this might resolve into some appealing complexity in the future.

I've seen the term "matchstick reduction" used previously; also I've seen Raj Parr write about Tissot-Like Reduction or Coche-Like Reduction. Are these terms commonly used only for white wines? Or is this something that I could use to describe this red? If that's not the right term, what would be?

The wine, by the way, was delicious.

Tariq K @ s s u m
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Steve Slatcher
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Re: Matchstick reduction

#2 Post by Steve Slatcher » April 19th, 2019, 6:29 am

I am sure I originally learned that "matchstick" was SO2 - indicating that the wine has been over-sulphured. And reduction initially gives H2S - a bad egg smell.

I have since read dissenting views and have not been able to find anything I trust as truly definitive, but I tend to believe what I read originally.

Either way, both can blow-off in a decanter, and both can disappear or improve with age, though if the H2S is too strong it can also evolve to give pretty foul odours.

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Otto Forsberg
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Re: Matchstick reduction

#3 Post by Otto Forsberg » May 2nd, 2019, 3:47 am

To my understanding, the struck matchstick smell is just a hint of reduction. Not all reductive notes are skunky - you need quite a bit of reduction for the wine to get skunky. I've had multiple natural wines with no SO2 whatsoever and still showing some struck matchstick and flint smoke character. Also, to my best understanding, the smoky matchstick / flint tones of Chablis, Northern Rhône Syrah or even young Dom Pérignon are typically because of reduction - and no-one in their right mind would call the wines "skunky" because of the said aromas.

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