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Wine, Unfiltered by Katherine Clary

Wine, Unfiltered by Katherine Clary

Author:Katherine Clary [CLARY, KATHERINE]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Running Press
Published: 2020-05-05T00:00:00+00:00


FLAWS AND FAULTS: WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW TO SPOT THEM

For a while I thought the only way a wine could be flawed was if it was “corked.” Never mind that I didn’t even know what that meant or how to identify it—I just knew it was bad. But there are more ways that a wine might be slightly off, and it’s not always a bad thing. (When wine has a characteristic that makes it undrinkable, it would be referred to as a fault.) A wine can be flawed due to things like excess or unwanted bacteria, acidity, heat, oxygen, or yeast.

Despite the word’s connotations, flaws aren’t always bad. True, some traditionalists or conventional winemakers will turn their noses up if a wine has a whiff of something they’ve been trained to think is wrong. But for many wine drinkers, flaws can make a wine fascinating. I mean, imagine if we shunned Brie or durian or sourdough because of the way they smelled?

I remember the first time I sent back a bad bottle of wine at a natural wine bar in New York. I sipped it and knew something was off; no wine should have tasted like that. So I asked the server to taste it, and he did, and immediately contorted his face and exclaimed, “Wow, what died in that bottle?”

Don’t be afraid to trust your judgment! What I had tasted, which you’ll read about shortly, was a flaw (or a fault, depending on which person you’re talking to) called mouse, and a mere two years ago I probably would have kept my mouth shut and drank it, and then felt nauseous.

You might also find that natural winemakers tend to be more open to experimentation, leading to quirks and flavors that would make more conservative or traditional wine drinkers red in the face. It’s something that is worth embracing when you’re exploring natural wine, but it’s important to know when you’re tasting an egregious error.

My friend Gabe Weinstock, currently the wine and spirits director at Lis Bar in Kingston, New York, explained his stance on flaws and faults: “The whole reason I got into wine, specifically natural wine, is because I felt that it didn’t live by a standard set of rules and that there was a place for anyone and everyone who wanted to get into it. ‘Flaws’ mean that some things are wrong and some are right, and if that’s true, a lot of people are gonna be left feeling stupid and unwelcome. I think that if someone wants to know what VA or brett (see here) tastes like, then someone should point out that flavor when drinking a glass of a wine with those components. But I don’t think those components need to be pointed out in a negative light; people can make up their own minds about if they do or don’t like those flavors.”

He continued, “Faults can typically be described in a more chemical way, and flaws in a more ideological way. These two



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