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. I'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.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune