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Stinky Wine and A Magic Penny

There are lots of wine faults out there -- many different ways that wine can be spoiled, off, or just plain ruined. Some of them are difficult to detect, like TCA. Most regular wine consumers have had plenty of corked wine in their lives, they just haven't known it, as it manifests in ways that are subtle and beyond the detection of casual wine drinkers, who simply may just not enjoy the wine they are drinking, rather than realizing that it is faulty.

One of the wine faults that is nearly impossible to mistake, unless the drinker has lost all sense of smell, is the tainting of wine with hydrogen sulfide. A natural byproduct of fermentation, especially fermentation which takes place in a slightly oxygen deprived environment, hydrogen sulfide is an inorganic compound that smells like rotten eggs, cabbage stew, or even week-old garbage. In a word: yucky.

It's rare that a wine suffers from this, but on occasion, it happens, and there's no mistaking it. pennies.gifI've had a few wines spoiled by this smell to greater or lesser degree. Sometimes the smell will dissipate with a little air, but often it's just too overwhelming.

What I didn't know is that there is a cure for this. Yes, thanks to a recent post on Robin Garr's Wine Lover's Page, I now know a blindingly simple, nearly unbelievable cure for turning hydrogen sulfide tainted wine into its previously untainted self.

A single copper penny.

Apparently the copper on the penny reacts with the hydrogen sulfide and binds it up into tiny inert molecules of cupric sulfide and water. It's that simple. Read the explanation here.

I can't wait to try it myself. I only hope I remember the trick when I need it next.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.