Punch Article on Mousiness


We all know that if someone says something in an article, its gotta be true, right?

And herein lies the biggest issue with this article - many will read this and assume that what this author states are ‘facts’. I really wish this was labeled as an ‘editorial’ instead.

And please understand once again where mousiness arises and hownit can easily be prevenyed if folks got off their dogmatic agendas and simy tried to make wines withou such a nasty fauly (this last senence is not aimed at you Marcus).


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i think the “bottle shock” fault is quite different from full on mouse. i have experienced this a few times with freshly bottled wines and it indeed settled down after some rest, sometimes in as little as a week. however, the severity was never more than minor, ie there was a slight kombucha like finish going on. terribly mousey wines make me gag and i am sick of all the apologists. i have never had true mouse disappate with age. when it is really bad i can smell it as well, so not sure how that fits in with it only being volatile above a certain ph. generally speaking there are far fewer affected wines currently than there were 10 years ago that is for sure.

Great points - and just to reiterate a major point here: we have all have different sensitivities to pretty much every aroma. And something like mousiness is not something the general consumer - or the occasional natural wine fan - will probably pick put as a fault . . .


This is not a question of believe, for me.
My experience is based on verifiable facts, observed on my own wines or estates where I consult.
I never had a wine that shows mouse for 3-4 years in the bottle for a simple reason : we don’t bottle obviously mouse tainted wines. Ever.
And the ones that showed mousiness as a consequence of bottling never showed it for 3-4 years.
Plus, I am lucky enough to buy wines after tasting them in first place, and able to avoid the really bad ones…
I have had wines that showed mousiness 3-4 years (never 10 years though) after bottling, but without track record saying if the taint was there at first or not.
Concerning Gonon, and knowing them quite well, I deeply doubt they did bottle an obviously tainted wine and, having being through quite a few 2012 here, I never had a single mousy bottle.
Therefore I do suspect that the taint occurred after the bottling, due to favorable conditions for lactic bacteria to metabolize residual sugar traces, glycerol or tartaric acid.

Again, I don’t have sufficient data to assert that wines showing mouse for 3-4 years, without knowing the history of the taint, will and will not recover.
Sorry about that.

What I can assert for sure is that I have had hundreds of wines showing mousiness for up to a year after bottling that totally recovered.
If I have to give one example, it would be my 2011 Brézème rouge bottling, that was clean before bottling, though showed typical signs of bacterial troubles during fermentation (sluggish fermentation, no more malic acid, important population of lactic bacteria, high level of D-lactic acid). It started to show mousiness a few weeks after the bottling and this went worse and worse for 1 month, far from a simple bottle shock, then staid steady for a year or so, and eventually started to recover to become quite a drinkable wine, showing no sign of its troubled past.
What I can say in terms of objective facts about this wine, is that the main enological parameters didn’t change over the time, and there was no evolution of the microbes populations.
So what happened there was probably only chemistry, and a total mystery, at this point, for the wine scientists.


“Therefore I do suspect that the taint occurred after the bottling, due to favorable conditions for lactic bacteria to metabolize residual sugar traces, glycerol or tartaric acid.”

I find this to be a very interesting remark!
Why? Because one of things that struck me when I tasted the 2011 Vini Viti Vinci Irancy is that it had something lactic about it in smell/taste.



I my personal (long) history with mouse taint, it has always been related to lactic bacteria, in total absence of Bretts.
The apparition of D-lactic acid (proof of lactic bacteria “deviant” activity) as always been a necessary condition to get mousiness later, but not sufficient.

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Thanks, Eric. Really fascinating.

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I agree, that is really fascinating. I won’t doubt your experience and it is just great for me and my taste in wine if it is really possible. I have only collected wines for six years, so i have lots of time to do my own experiments as i buy a lot of wines with low-to-no amounts of added sulfites.

Thanks for the input Eric.

What Eric shared is without doubt the most educative I have read/learnt about the mouse issue.

These type of insights is one of the main reasons I love this forum…

We are basically discussing two different occurrences of THP then right?

  1. you’re discussing wines that are bottled a little mousy and then disappear in a very quick part of its life span. Similar to what @m_ristev is saying.

  2. There are also wines that have low quantities of THP that are not detectable to most early on but then bloom in bottle over time . Ones that start to appear 3-4 years after bottling. Akin to white burg/premox - an issue that isn’t readily apparent initially but get worse with time.

THP is THP right? Wouldn’t situations of 1 and 2 both result in the THP no longer being detectable over time?

Or is #1 is a completely different chemical phenomenon than #2?