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Tim York

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WTN: Treating a Cairanne for reductive aromas.

by Tim York » Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:02 am

Cairanne “Réserve des Seigneurs” 2005 – Domaine de l’Oratoire Saint-Martin – AOC “Côtes du Rhône Villages” and alcohol 14.5% are only mentioned on the back label – (approx. € 11,50 and excellent QPR in most vintages).

The purpose of this note is to explore the behaviour of a usually reliably fine wine in the 2005 vintage. Previous bottles showed strong reductive aromas of rotten eggs. So, for this bottle, I resolved to try the decanting with copper coin treatment, which was suggested by Dirk Niepoort for one of his wines and is also, I think, recommended by Robin for cases like this.

Upon opening the bottle exhibited the usual rotten egg aromas. I placed my copper (old Belgian 50 centime piece) in the neck of the decanting funnel and poured. During the decanting I noticed some sweet dark fruit aromas but, upon sniffing the neck of the decanter, there remained notes of rotten egg although less intense than from the bottle before decanting.

Clearly more energetic treatment was required, so I placed the stopper on the decanter and shook the wine vigorously twice and then removed the stopper for about 45 minutes before serving. In the glass the rotten eggs aroma had almost completely disappeared but there was virtually nothing else at all on the nose beyond a hint of sweetness.

So I seem to have removed the bouquet but the treatment worked by and large. I am unable to say what part was decisive.

And how was the wine on the PALATE once cleaned? In spite of absence of bouquet after treatment, it was surprisingly good; rich, velvety and mouth-filling showing lots of ripe, sweet fruit; probably riper and richer but showing less liveliness and attractive pepper and spice than the excellent 2004.

After finishing the decanter, I poured the heeltaps from the bottle into my glass and, lo and behold, strong rotten eggs again on the nose and also more than hints in the after-taste. This is further confirmation of the efficacy of the treatment; air alone did not do the job.
Tim York
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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Re: WTN: Treating a Cairanne for reductive aromas.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:58 am

Great stuff Tim. Lots of spare time these days eh!!! Nagh, just having some fun, next time I come across this eggy thingy will think of you. LOL.
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Re: WTN: Treating a Cairanne for reductive aromas.

by Victorwine » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:06 pm

Thanks for posting this Tim. Swirling a wine glass vigorously will only help if H2S is the culprit (doesn’t actually stop its formation but helps eliminate the odor). If other sulfur compounds are the culprit much more drastic measures must be taken.

Salute
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Robin Garr

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Re: WTN: Treating a Cairanne for reductive aromas.

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:41 pm

Tim York wrote:So, for this bottle, I resolved to try the decanting with copper coin treatment, which was suggested by Dirk Niepoort for one of his wines and is also, I think, recommended by Robin for cases like this.

Interesting experiment, Tim, and thanks for reporting it! To expand upon my experience a little, I usually find that dropping a "copper" penny straight into the glass and swirling it vigorously seems to help. I quote "copper" because even a modern American penny or Euro cent, which have only a small amount of copper in the cladding, nevertheless, apparently have enough.

I have not notice a problem with the experience "scalping" fruit aromas and flavor, though, and my very limited understanding of the copper process (forms compounds with the sulfur-bearing molecules in the wine to make new molecules without sulfurous aromatics) this almost makes me wonder if the reductiveness merely masked another flaw.

A shame in any case ... I love Oratoire and have fond memories of visiting there a couple of years ago with the Bucko Tour.
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Tim York

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Re: WTN: Treating a Cairanne for reductive aromas.

by Tim York » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:02 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I have not notice a problem with the experience "scalping" fruit aromas and flavor, though, and my very limited understanding of the copper process (forms compounds with the sulfur-bearing molecules in the wine to make new molecules without sulfurous aromatics) this almost makes me wonder if the reductiveness merely masked another flaw.

A shame in any case ... I love Oratoire and have fond memories of visiting there a couple of years ago with the Bucko Tour.


Robin,

I do not understand wine chemistry, but is it not possible that the oxygen deprivation, which causes reductive aromas, also stunts the development of the bouquet? Perhaps the treatment removed most of the undesirable aromas but did not give enough time for the desirable ones to emerge?

In the case of Oratoire Réserve 05, Jay Labrador reported on a bottle free of stink, which makes me think that we here have been served from a bad bottling run. I need to remember to speak to the importer about this; so far I haven't ordered any other 05s from Oratoire nor yet the 06 Réserve, in spite of my love for their range from previous years.
Tim York

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