Lees smell in still wine (faulty?)

This evening I poured myself a glass (with Coravin) of a Falanghina, this one
Falanghina Campi Flegrei 'Cruna deLago' La Sibilla 2020 | Callmewine vintage 2019.

It’s not a cheap wine made by a random farmer, on that link you can also see very good ratings for the vintage (I normnally don’t pay attention to those). I think we can assume that it’s a “properly made” wine, at least.

Serving temperature suggested is 8 - 10 C, I aimed at having it poured at 10 but might’ve brought it down to a lower temperature than intended (not much). Used a Riedel Veritas riesling glass, as suggested (not that I have many options, it’s either that or a bigger wider riesling veritas intended for Nebbiolo iirc).

I was not very impressed with the wine, the only thing I could pick up on the nose was this lees smell, it wasn’t the kind of bread crust you smell and taste in BdB champagnes that stayed for a long time sur lie, it was more like when you’re kneading (used google translator for this, new word learned) a dough. I’m not used to smell it in still wines.

Could it be a incipit for a moldy smell and therefore point to TCA? Drinking it wasn’t unpleasant, vivid acidity and not much more tbh. I didn’t give it enough time to reach much higher temperature.

To provide context, I’d like to state that I’m way off the average supposed ratio of corked bottle, or so I think.

I’ve never encountered at a restaurant or wine tasting a bottle who was deemed corked by the guy serving me, and never had a doubt about it. I’m not counting but I think I might be close to the 200 mark (altho many of those are glasses poured, sometimes from bottles opened in fron of me but the other times faulty bottles were already spotted and eliminated).

On the home consumption side: this is my 47th bottle started / consumed, never head a clearly corked bottle but I had 2 istances + a possible third (just had one glass so I’m restraining my judgement) that were a bit dull / underwhelming for my expectation, altho not previous bottles were tasted and there could be thousands of other reasons not involving TCA.

So if this is a slighly corked bottle, it was long overdue!

My first question is how familiar with Falanghina are you. Did it taste correct? I’ve had a lot of intentionally leesy still wines so I wouldn’t necessarily call it a fault if that’s the character you’re objecting to, though I’m not familiar with this specific wine. Regardless, this doesn’t sound like TCA to me.


Hi Ben and thanks for your reply.

In my “conscious” era I haven’t tasted much, only a base mustilli. Which also wsn’t also a great wine but it costs around 10 €. I don’t keep notes, but I’m pretty sure there was more citrus and not a lees smell.

This ‘lees’ smell you describe…was it a stinky reductive quality or a a yeasty smell??
Or did it smell like moldy newspapers …or an attic opened after a long winter??

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Hi mel, thanks for your message!

I know what’s reduction (in theory) but never experienced once.

I’d say the same with TCA.

It wasn’t clearly a moldy smell, the closest comparison I can make is when you go near a table that has all the wet pizza dough being prepared, but that would also be a bit to fantasy

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From the page you linked to it seems this could be intentional:
“ 6 mesi sulle fecce fini in acciaio e almeno 6 mesi in bottiglia”

Still wines can have yeast character too- e.g Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine

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Hello! Thanks for decoding it for me, that might be it

It sounds yeasty to me…Probably they left the wine on the lees a long time…like some Muscadets!

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This reminds me of the very first Au Bon Climat Chardonnay…1982… maybe too much lees contact and the wine smelled like brewers yeast. Had the last bottle fifteen years ago w Moke Berg,Raj Parr and Jim …wonderful!.


Aging wines on the fine lees is a very common winemaking technique these days; I can’t think of a single wine I import that isn’t aged on the lees for at least 3-4 months. Six months (as with the wine you are referring to) is not at all unusual.

You should be able to clearly distinguish between this smell and TCA.

(I import this wine for my markets, and drink quite a bit of it too.)

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Thank you Oliver,

I’ll have more time to explore it in the upcoming weeks and see how it behaves, but I can say quite safely at this point that it’s not TCA. This means I’ve been extremely lucky up to this point :open_mouth: