'Cooked' Wine

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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Victorwine » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:10 am

The only time a “flaw” will give me a problem is if the wine is now “taken out” of its “class” or “type”. A 1999 white, with color to it, if that’s the only thing “wrong” with it, I wouldn’t even consider that a “flaw”.

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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Thomas » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:46 am

Victorwine wrote:The only time a “flaw” will give me a problem is if the wine is now “taken out” of its “class” or “type”. A 1999 white, with color to it, if that’s the only thing “wrong” with it, I wouldn’t even consider that a “flaw”.

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Ah, what an interesting twist this thread has taken.

Maybe what we need on wine labels is a message concerning the winemaker's intent. Then, we have a standard by which to judge each wine, individually, rather than as a collective set of expectations.

Still, the difference between intentional cooking/oxidation and unintended seems a rather vast chasm, in my view.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:57 am

I had what could be considered an instructive opportunity last night.

I was poured a glass of a 1997 Austrian Riesling from a fine producer. The wine showed honeyed richness, but also distinct oxidative notes. There was a second bottle open, and I obtained a pour from that one. The wine was minerally, fruity and laser focused with just the beginnings of secondary richness.

Clearly the first bottle was compromised by its cork, as the two bottles came from the same case as a recent cellar release from the winery. Whether people would consider the first bottle to be heat damaged or affected by some other flaw (some people actually preferred the first bottle) is an open question. I had the advantage of knowing what the wine "should" taste like, and rejected the initial bottle as flawed.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Steve Slatcher » Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:39 am

Victorwine wrote:The only time a “flaw” will give me a problem is if the wine is now “taken out” of its “class” or “type”. A 1999 white, with color to it, if that’s the only thing “wrong” with it, I wouldn’t even consider that a “flaw”.

Well my wine tasted oxidised too! It was undoubtedly taken out of its class - but as initially I did not know what its class was, that was of never of any concern to me.

The other point to note is that I got the wine very cheap - £4 - rather than the stated full price of £13, or £19 for a recent vintage. I would have expected more from a £19 wine, but may have been happy to pay up to £8 or so.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:58 pm

A number of groovy wine producers are trying to reduce their SO2 additions, too. I have had several wines that showed premature tea color recently, and both had almost no remaining SO2 upon analysis.

I suppose one aspect of this is that wines that sound oxidative (any caramel note, flatness, darker color) are often being reflexively assumed to be cooked, these days. I am not clear how one would discriminate between cork failure (or stopper failure; many of the silicon stoppers failed after little more than a year), which IMO is common and not sufficiently discussed, insufficient protective SO2, and heat damage. In fact I don't believe it is possible to so discriminate, and unless the cork is 'pushed' it seems to me that heat damage is no more likely than the other explanations.

Until we get rid of cork this debate will never end. There is always too much variation.
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Yup...

Postby TomHill » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:09 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:..... Sometimes we need to set expectations aside.


Absolutely agree, Steve. I recall when I had my first Gravner. Had I judged it as just another Italian PinotGrigio...I would have rejected the wine
as oxidized/shot/badly flawed. Fortunately, I knew some about Gravner's winemaking to know a bit what to expect and was able to look beyond
the oxidation and find some things I liked. Must admit, though, still didn't care that much for it...especially at the price.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Nathan Smyth » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:46 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:I think one of the most important factors in specifying faults in a wine is being able to make a comparison, ideally with a non-faulty bottle of the same wine.

In the case of imported wines, it is most instructive to taste the same wine as it was shipped by two different importers.

After which one will never again doubt the existence of the phenomenon of "cooked in transport".
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:53 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:I think one of the most important factors in specifying faults in a wine is being able to make a comparison, ideally with a non-faulty bottle of the same wine.

In the case of imported wines, it is most instructive to taste the same wine as it was shipped by two different importers.

After which one will never again doubt the existence of the phenomenon of "cooked in transport".


Yes, unless the 'bad' bottle was caused by random oxidation due to cork failure, which is always possible. I suppose you could make that comparison with eg 3 bottles of each lot.

The other aspect of low SO2 is that it would cause bottle variation that is indistinguishable from the 'cooked/non-cooked' theory.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:10 pm

Oliver,

You are turning this into a 5 factor design of experiments.

If the wine is ruined the wine is ruined.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:22 pm

David,

No, I'm pointing out that the actual situation we face contains these variables, whether we like it or not.

'If the wine is ruined the wine is ruined...' is circular; yes, but why?
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:45 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:
The other aspect of low SO2 is that it would cause bottle variation that is indistinguishable from the 'cooked/non-cooked' theory.


Oliver, you raise an interesting question as to whether there are sensory differences between a "cooked' bottle and an oxidized one. I grant you that there is an oxidation aspect to the effects of heat, which increases the rate of virtually all chemical reactions, but I'd posit that a truly cooked wine should show other problems distinct from those of oxidation. Since esters are the most volatile component of wine, one that's heat-damaged should lose those esters, which account for fruity odors. Anecdotally, I've heard people talking about heat-damaged wines as tasting "flat," which I equate with a loss of aromatic elements. I agree, though, that closure failure and low SO2 levels complicate the matter.

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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:59 pm

Mark,

I completely agree with you, and I think that if we had a bottle that we exposed to heat sufficient to damage it, and a bottle that had lost its SO2 and was on the edge of oxidation for some reason, those wines would be somewhat similar but distinguishable one from the other. BUT in the normal way of things we don't have that opportunity, and we're just guessing.

My guess is that marginal oxidation is a lot more common than 'cooking,' but that just a guess. On the other hand all of this is just guesswork, so...
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:21 pm

TomHill wrote: There is no evidence for these threshold chemical reactions that I'm aware. Don't know chemistry very well, though.... I'm just a simple lil' ole country computational physicist. But let's discount them for now and go with the rule that chemical reactions double for each 10C rise in temperature. So if you wine spends 6 hrs...wherevere...at 90F. It would....given that the cork seal remains intact...therefore make sense to store the wine at 30F for a day or two and everything would even out and the wine would be the same as one that stayed at 60F its entire life??


Tom, I think that your threshold reactions are the equivalent of Dr Pandell's (he is a chemistry professor) discussion of varied energy barriers in the link I put in. Hopefully Dr. Lipton (he's also a chemistry professor) will comment on this. The 30°countering 90° argument is funny, let's do an experiment with a few cases of your wines. :)


Steve Slatcher wrote: It seems that oxidised styles are becoming less and less fashionable, .


I know sherry isn't in fashion, but it seems to me in geeky circles I see a lot MORE oxidised style wines these days. I personally don't care for the severely oxidised styles like vin jaune, though I enjoy some white Riojas that have milder notes.

Oliver McCrum wrote:I suppose one aspect of this is that wines that sound oxidative (any caramel note, flatness, darker color) are often being reflexively assumed to be cooked, these days. I am not clear how one would discriminate between cork failure (or stopper failure; many of the silicon stoppers failed after little more than a year), which IMO is common and not sufficiently discussed, insufficient protective SO2, and heat damage. .


Oliver,
I'm all for getting away from natural cork. But let's not forget that heat can (as I understand it) exacerbate issues about corks and SO2. Pressure changes can make corks move. Even if it's not visually apparent as a sunken or raised cork, it seems logical to me that a cork that has moved is less likely to have kept a good seal. My understanding of the "sans soufre" producers is that pretty much everyone agrees that even fairly short term exposure to warm temps are a recipe for disaster.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:40 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
Oliver McCrum wrote:I suppose one aspect of this is that wines that sound oxidative (any caramel note, flatness, darker color) are often being reflexively assumed to be cooked, these days. I am not clear how one would discriminate between cork failure (or stopper failure; many of the silicon stoppers failed after little more than a year), which IMO is common and not sufficiently discussed, insufficient protective SO2, and heat damage. .


Oliver,
I'm all for getting away from natural cork. But let's not forget that heat can (as I understand it) exacerbate issues about corks and SO2. Pressure changes can make corks move. Even if it's not visually apparent as a sunken or raised cork, it seems logical to me that a cork that has moved is less likely to have kept a good seal. My understanding of the "sans soufre" producers is that pretty much everyone agrees that even fairly short term exposure to warm temps are a recipe for disaster.


Yes, it could be that heat is bad for wine in a short-term way because it interrupts the seal, which causes oxidation.

I talked to a producer on Etna whose wines sound fascinating, but they are made and bottled with no use of SO2, and they have to be shipped from Sicily using a service that ships refrigerated medical products due to the risk of heat damage. My life is complicated enough. That would be like shipping milk from Italy.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Thomas » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:10 pm

Oliver and Mark,

What about caramelized? That's a clear indication of cooking, and that's the one I look for in my sensory analysis. If it ain't there, I start looking for another reason.

Oxidation aroma is separate from caramelized; a sensory stimulation more like the smell of decay or death or infection rather than reduction, to which I equate caramelizing.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:27 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:David,

No, I'm pointing out that the actual situation we face contains these variables, whether we like it or not.

'If the wine is ruined the wine is ruined...' is circular; yes, but why?


Who cares. Obviously you do, but I just return the stuff (reasonably new purchases only). If it's shot it's shot.

No one is going to do a scientific study to prove why any specific bottle of wine goes bad. It's impossible until somebody invents the "Super-Affordable Magic Flaw Detector."
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Mark Lipton » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:00 am

David M. Bueker wrote:No one is going to do a scientific study to prove why any specific bottle of wine goes bad. It's impossible until somebody invents the "Super-Affordable Magic Flaw Detector."


You mean... the nose?

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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Mark Lipton » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:04 am

Thomas wrote:Oliver and Mark,

What about caramelized? That's a clear indication of cooking, and that's the one I look for in my sensory analysis. If it ain't there, I start looking for another reason.

Oxidation aroma is separate from caramelized; a sensory stimulation more like the smell of decay or death or infection rather than reduction, to which I equate caramelizing.


Wow, you got me there, Thomas. I don't think that I've ever noticed a caramelized note from a wine. Butterscotch, yes, alas, but not caramel. Caramelization is an example of the Maillard reaction, which does require heat, as well as amines and sugars. I guess that we'll just have to open one of them together to see what we make of it.

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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:37 am

David M. Bueker wrote:
Oliver McCrum wrote:David,

No, I'm pointing out that the actual situation we face contains these variables, whether we like it or not.

'If the wine is ruined the wine is ruined...' is circular; yes, but why?


Who cares. Obviously you do, but I just return the stuff (reasonably new purchases only). If it's shot it's shot.

No one is going to do a scientific study to prove why any specific bottle of wine goes bad. It's impossible until somebody invents the "Super-Affordable Magic Flaw Detector."


That's what we're talking about, though; we all have had wines that taste off in various ways, but what off flavors are reliably associated with 'cooked?' You're a scientist, I would have thought this approach would make sense to you.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Oliver McCrum » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:39 am

Thomas wrote:Oliver and Mark,

What about caramelized? That's a clear indication of cooking, and that's the one I look for in my sensory analysis. If it ain't there, I start looking for another reason.

Oxidation aroma is separate from caramelized; a sensory stimulation more like the smell of decay or death or infection rather than reduction, to which I equate caramelizing.


Wait, you're saying 'reductive' equals 'caramelised'? Really?
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:51 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:
Oliver McCrum wrote:David,

No, I'm pointing out that the actual situation we face contains these variables, whether we like it or not.

'If the wine is ruined the wine is ruined...' is circular; yes, but why?


Who cares. Obviously you do, but I just return the stuff (reasonably new purchases only). If it's shot it's shot.

No one is going to do a scientific study to prove why any specific bottle of wine goes bad. It's impossible until somebody invents the "Super-Affordable Magic Flaw Detector."


That's what we're talking about, though; we all have had wines that taste off in various ways, but what off flavors are reliably associated with 'cooked?' You're a scientist, I would have thought this approach would make sense to you.


It makes sense to me if we can do reliable experiments. Unless we're willing to potentially destroy bottles we can't. There's no reliable control groups.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Thomas » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:14 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:
Thomas wrote:Oliver and Mark,

What about caramelized? That's a clear indication of cooking, and that's the one I look for in my sensory analysis. If it ain't there, I start looking for another reason.

Oxidation aroma is separate from caramelized; a sensory stimulation more like the smell of decay or death or infection rather than reduction, to which I equate caramelizing.


Wait, you're saying 'reductive' equals 'caramelised'? Really?


Did I say that?

What I meant is: caramelizing (the aroma) is akin to the many aromas associated with reduction--oxidation isn't.

Which vegetables caramelize beautifully when cooked? Onions, garlic, etc.--the sulfurous ones.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Thomas » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:16 am

Mark Lipton wrote:
Thomas wrote:Oliver and Mark,

What about caramelized? That's a clear indication of cooking, and that's the one I look for in my sensory analysis. If it ain't there, I start looking for another reason.

Oxidation aroma is separate from caramelized; a sensory stimulation more like the smell of decay or death or infection rather than reduction, to which I equate caramelizing.


Wow, you got me there, Thomas. I don't think that I've ever noticed a caramelized note from a wine. Butterscotch, yes, alas, but not caramel. Caramelization is an example of the Maillard reaction, which does require heat, as well as amines and sugars. I guess that we'll just have to open one of them together to see what we make of it.

Mark Lipton


Mark,

Smell a Madeira. The wine is purposely cooked and it gives off quite a caramelized aroma. And amines and sugars are part of wine's construction.
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Re: 'Cooked' Wine

Postby Victorwine » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:45 pm

I agree with Thomas, for a “cooked” wine I think of Madeira-like, and for an “oxidized” wine I think of Sherry-like. (A Madeira wine is produced by intentional cooking the wine and Sherry is produced by intentional oxidizing the wine).

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