Friday , December 15 2017
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What’s that Stink? It’s Wine Gone Bad!


New The Know Your Wine SeriesTHROUGHOUT MY MEETINGS WITH wine enthusiasts, there will be a person or two who will share their bad wine experiences. Often, they are not sure whether the wines are just not to their liking or it has gone faulty. Fret not. It is easier than you think identifying faulty wine. You need none other than your own senses, sight, smell and taste to detect which ones have gone bad.


When it dont look good, it probably ain't good
When it dont look good, it probably ain’t good

Wine is supposed to be clear and the presence of cloudiness is an indication of a possible bacterial contamination but don’t confuse it with deposits that develope in well-aged red wine.

Wine colour should be in accordance to their grape type, hence if you are expecting a pale yellow colour, but is appearing to be brown or a young red or brownish red, extra caution should be exercised as the chances of the wine being faulty is high.

Examine the cork, it's a telltale sign
Examine the cork, it’s a telltale sign

If you happen to be in a restaurant, and you are opening a wine with corkTartrates-on-the-end-of-your-cork closure, examine the cork to ensure there is no leakage stain.

But if you are like me, my number one action of any wine being opened is to demand to smell the cork and as long as it is not does not have an off odour, we are good to go.

A wine with this symptom would most probably be oxidized and oxidized wines taste dull and flat.


Smells of rotten eggs? Yup, it's ritten.
Smells of rotten eggs? Yup, it’s rotten.


The nosing or aroma of wines are supposed to be pleasant with scents indicating the presence of blackcurrants or strawberries. There are generally three types of smells that you must be careful of.

Whenever the wines smell like:

  1. Vinegar – Yes, it is turning into vinegar hence better leave the wine alone
  2. Rotten Eggs ─ This is a sign of poor winemaking and the smell is from hydrogen sulphide
  3. Musty Smell ─ This is what we term as “corked” wine due to faulty wines

My personal take on “corked” wine, you will be much safer drinking wines from a screw cap if you are unable to taste or look at the wine colour clearly.


Hmmm....There's something not right about the taste...
Hmmm….There’s something not right about the taste…

Most of the time, even before tasting, we would have been able to identify the faulty wines. But if you are in a dim place and your nose is not exactly at its optimum, you would just have to taste it to find out. As mentioned above, if the wine is oxidized, the wine would taste dull and flat.

So what does it mean when I say “taste dull and flat?” Imagine you don’t taste any tannin, any sweetness or acidity, yup that is how a faulty wine tastes like.




Trina is the founder of Wine Tasting Malaysia, an online based wine enthusiast group with weekly wine tasting events all around the Klang Valley. Often found with a wine glass in her hand, she truly believes life is so much more WINEderful with wines. She is currently on a quest to gather 1000 wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Be part of her quest by joining Wine Tasting Malaysia via Wine Tasting Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) ─ Meetup  or Facebook’s life is too shortwinetastingmalaysia .  She calls Subang Jaya her home and can be reached at


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