An example of a really good wine, that smells and tastes good. Barefoot White Zinfandel
An example of a really good wine, that smells and tastes good.
Barefoot White Zinfandel

Have you ever drank a glass of wine that smelled downright awful?

And then when you actually tried it either tasted alright, or just like what you were thinking of?

I definitely have.

Before moving to Ohio I lived on Long Island, and many a weekend one of my best friends and I would do what I called vineyard-hopping. There are so many vineyards on the East End of Long Island (check out this site for the full list). If you’re there, it’s a great activity that won’t break the bank. Trying different wines for a small amount of money.

And doing wine tastings for us is not just for the love of wine, it’s for the learning experience, and for really what to look (and not to look) out for.

One thing I noticed at some of the tasting rooms was the aroma of some of the wines were just plain gross. Like smelled like dirt, rotting things, the S word.

And honestly I didn’t understand why.

I’ve been to places (i.e. festivals) where the wine sat out too long and it gets aerated (another reason for it possibly tasting gross), but some of the vineyards I went to, there would be a wine where I’d smell it and just be grossed out by the aroma.

Which brings me to my cool article of the week, which explains some of what I’ve thought about.

According to an article I got in my email from The Daily Sip, it’s “complex chemistry” making each wine smell, or not smell.

Before you read the entire article, here are a couple of the scents, decoded:

Photo credit:

Wet dog
Found in a wine that has been contaminated by TCA, a compound that can be found in wine corks and contaminates the whole bottle of wine. Also sometimes described as wet cardboard or dank basement.

Barnyard or Bandaid
Comes from a microbe called brettanomyces. At low levels, it can be considered beneficial to the complexity of the wine, but it easily grows out of control and spoils the wine.

Dairy (butter, cheese, cream)
Found in New World chardonnays. The aroma comes from the compound diacytl, the same compound used to make margarine taste like butter. Diacytl forms when a second fermentation, called malolactic fermentation, takes place.

Have you ever had a weird wine aroma experience ? Let me know!