Pyrazine question

I recently opened two bottles of the same wine about 6 months apart. Both 2013 Napa cabs, the first one did not have any pyrazine notes that I can recall and I throughly enjoyed it. The second bottle had overwhelming green bell pepper notes to the point that it was not possible to enjoy. Anyone have any thoughts on why this happen from the same bottling? Thanks.

If it’s the same liquid from the same barrels, and tasted so closely together, then my best guess is simply that your olfactory senses were just in a different place the second time around. A hundred little factors make up how we taste and smell at any given time, which is what makes blind tasting so triumphant one day and then infuriating the next.

Or possibly some bottle variation; perhaps the fruit is a bit more shut down or in adolescence in that bottle at this particular moment in time, lending more pronunciation to the green notes.

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I have had similar experiences. Certainly human variation is a factor. But I’ve had two bottles of the same wine–let’s say 10-15 years of age–where one is aldehydic/oxidized, slightly porty and seemingly overripe, while the other is herbal, dark fruited and showing balanced pyrazine character.

I’m more inclined to think a decade+ of bottle driven variation is more likely than my taste being 180 degrees off. But it is true this ‘experiment’ was not blinded, so the conclusion is not scientifically speaking solid.

The link here,, points out that pyrazines can synergize with other aromas related to oxidation. So it might not be that pyrazines are higher, but that they show differently based on bottle-variation driven oxidation. Another possibility is that the wine is mildly corked, such that the fruit was stripped, leaving behind only the pyrazine aromas.