Burned Rubber -- Dominate to Undrinkable

What does super strong Burned Rubber on nose and in the mouth to the degree of undrinkability indicate? Cooked Wine? Over the hill Oxidation? I had a 1999 Beaucastel Red that went down the drain last week. I’ve had at least a dozen of these over the last 10 years and all were fine, but a bit variable.

Over the last couple decades I’ve had a few 30 year old bordeaux show the same signs and were undrinkable, and I’d like to understand the cause as sound bottles should have been OK. [scratch.gif]


I find it much more common in Napa cabs than in European wines.


I find quite a bit of it in Southern Rhones and Spanish wines that are Grenache-based. I don’t think it’s a flaw and, even then, I hate it.

Same, I dont think its a flaw, but really not my style of wine

I experienced this in an Alban Grenache some years ago: not pleasurable.

I’ve had some burnt rubber aromas normally in South African wines (mainly seems to be more a thing of the past, since fewer and fewer South African wines show that character) but with Beaucastel I’ve normally had only brett. And it’s not that sweet, funky and leathery brett one usually comes across in, for example, older Rioja reds, but instead a distinct brett strain that gives this kind of dry, pungent and quite phenolic character. It seems to be a house flavor, since I’ve tasted it in several vintages - only the amount of this phenolic character seems to differ from vintage to vintage. It’s also the key character that has helped me pick Beaucastel out in blind tastings every now and then.

But yeah, the point being, I think the Beaucastel aroma and burnt rubber aromas are somewhat similar but still different. The SA reds feel more tarry, smoky and just more like burnt rubber, but I can understand why someone would describe the Beaucastel character with the same descriptor.

Most pronounced I’ve seen was on a bottle of Chateau de la Negly ‘La Porte du Ciel’ that was a special gift from my wife 8-10 years ago. The rubber scent was so pronounced that the three of us who tried it were all turned off and none of us finished a glass.


Bottle of Fess Parker Syrah was the worst I ever had, should have saved to bottle for teaching purposes.

This echoes my experience as well, along with some overwrought California reds and overly modern Rioja-Priorat-eastern Spanish

I pick up those kinds of notes in young syrah, at least to my senses.

For my tastes, No. Rhones need time to smooth out.

When I was younger I found those match stick smells more prominent, but maybe now wine making is better, or maybe I’m more tolerant, so it’s not as bad as I recall.

So interesting to hear so many folks having issues with grenaches or grenache-based wines. The variety tends to be more oxidative than reductive, so the ‘opposite’ usually occurs - these oxidize more often than get reduced.

It’s not surprising to hear about Syrahs and syrah-based wines having these issues - this variety tends to get a lot more reductive, and, if not taken care of, can get ‘reduced’, or develop mercaptans.


'90s red Beaucastel is brett, norm for them. Can’t recall one without, some showing just a bit, some full bloom. Have a bottle of '99 left and not sure I want to open it.

Is this an attribute where there is a wide variety of taste perception among people ? like TCA where sometimes it seems like just a touch makes something undrinkable for a few folks, and it takes a lot to affect others (like me)


I don’t think so - but one person’s ‘rubber tire’ might be another’s ‘herbaceous’ or ‘cigar smoke’. Scientifically, what I stated generally holds . . .


In 2008 international critics were reporting burned rubber (BR) tastes in South African reds. Some people said it was a South African attribute, many linking it especially to Pinotage.

Stellenbosch University set up a team to investigate. Their preliminary report in 2011 showed that BR was not identified as such by all tasters, and named several possible causes but they hadn’t found a single definite culprit.

I have a PDF of the page from Wineland trade magazine that carried the story that I’d be happy to email you (and anyone else) that asks

I find an initial whiff of burnt rubber interesting as long as it does not have substantivity

Had the same issue last week with a bottle of 2006 Clos Du Mont Olivet CDP and I dumped it down the drain for the same reason. I gagged my way thru half the bottle before I just gave up.