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My First Can of Paint!

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Richard Fadeley

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My First Can of Paint!

by Richard Fadeley » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:01 pm

My wife threw me a curve with a red curried chicken dish for supper, with Jasmatti rice and haricot vert. Nice presentation but what to serve with this? We had a bottle of "inexpensive" bubbly, Chase-Limogere (California) already opened, along with Philippe Faury '02 Saint-Joseph (Kermit Lynch). So for a good contrast I went to an inexpensive Riesling (Schmitt-Sohne 2005 Riesling, Qba). After about 15 minutes of air and a few good swirls this bargin basement stalwart was loaded with, not petrol, but oil-based paint! Has anyone else ever experienced this (fault)? It was too much for me as I went back to the sparkler, which worked fine, and even the Syrah was not too much with the chicken (I'm finishing the bottle as we speak) and the classic white pepper and dark fruit are most appealing. The Chase-Limogere is a light-weight sparkler (transfer method I assume) that might be a cheap way out for a wedding or New Years bash, in lieu of Frexeinet (it looks like Champagne, with a French name), but it's worth a look.
Just interested to know if anyone else has noticed this off-putting phenomenon in a Riesling. My first "can of paint" and I was not impressed!
Richard Fadeley, CWS
aka Webwineman
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Steve Slatcher

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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Steve Slatcher » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:02 am

Sounds disgusting. Haven't experienced it, but my best guess is that it was a bad case of VA and nothing to do with Riesling per se.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by David M. Bueker » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:32 am

It's VA, not Riesling.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Victorwine » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:41 pm

Ethyl acetate formation. Not really a volatile acid or VA. It is an ester that is formed when acetic acid reacts with alcohol. A high level of acetic acid in a wine does not necessarily mean high levels of ethyl acetate will form.

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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Steve Slatcher » Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:53 am

Victorwine wrote:Ethyl acetate formation. Not really a volatile acid or VA. It is an ester that is formed when acetic acid reacts with alcohol. A high level of acetic acid in a wine does not necessarily mean high levels of ethyl acetate will form.

Point taken, but the reaction products of acetic acid are commonly referred to as VA.
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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Victorwine » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:46 pm

I have a question.
Since, when it comes to wine, most people associate VA with acetic acid or “vinegar acid” and it usually means something bad. Do we consider any acetate ester (ethyl acetate, phenyl ethyl acetate, hexyl acetate, isoamyl acetate, etc) formation as some form of VA? Do we refer to those which contribute negatively to a wine’s aroma as VA? What do we call the acetate ester derivatives, which in certain concentrations, could contribute positively to a wine’s aroma?

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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:48 pm

Victor - technical correctness matters little (perhaps not at all) in winespeak. If it's bad it's VA. If it's good then it's aromatic complexity.
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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Steve Slatcher » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:26 am

Winespeak is not only technically incorrect. It also varies a lot from taster to taster. When I write VA (usually because I smell ethyl acetate) I don't necessarily regard it as a fault, but I suppose others might prefer to call it "lifted".

Rgarding your question, Victor, I am afraid I cannot answer as I would not recognise most of those compounds on the nose (with the exception of isoamy acetate). But am I not right in thinking that tyically these would all co-exist as the reseult of esterification of acetic acid, and so might be hard to distinguish in practice?

I have a couple of questions...

How many of use have smelled acetic acid in a glass of wine? I don't think I have - only from around the neck of some wine bottles - and in a glass of beer. Either most of it has trransformed to esters by the time it gets to me or the smell of the esters masked the vinegar smell.

How is VA measured? To enforce regulatory limits on VA for example. Are any acetates counted in the total, perhaps by pushing the estification reaction backwards before measuring?
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Re: My First Can of Paint!

by Victorwine » Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:33 pm

When it comes to aromatic esters and because it involves acids and alcohols, the smell of a ripening fruit will depend upon the flora of yeast and bacteria that call the surface of the fruit “home”. Certainly, certain strains of yeast and bacteria and due to their activity will result in pleasant aromas and others not so pleasant aromas. This is what the wine yeast manufacturers are doing when they naturally select yeast and bacteria from nature and isolate them. They are discovering certain strains of yeast or bacteria will favor the formation of certain esters over other esters. The yeast or bacteria do not create aromatic esters, they help in forming them. For this to occur the yeast or bacteria must be given favorable conditions and the fruit itself most possess certain precursors.
Determining VA (g/L -volatile acids only, during a steam distillation the esters are not distilled or collected) is really not that difficult, it involves taking a wine sample and steam distilling it, and then taking the distillate and perform a titration. However before doing the steam distillation the SO2 content should be first determined (expressed in its acidic equivalent it should be subtracted from the VA) and the sample should also be de-gassed, both SO2 and CO2 could lead to “false reading” because during a steam distillation they too can be distilled (“collected”) with the other volatile acids.

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