What are the aromas associated with
an oxidized wine?
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Sherry is the typical note for oxidized wines. Learn more about it below. This is still a work in progress and we will add regularly new descriptors extracted from the wine aroma wheel.
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- Aroma: Sherry
- Category: Oxidized
- Aroma definition: Oxidized wine have a typical Sherry-like aroma. Sherry is a high-alcoholic (18%) wine produced originally in Spain; it is matured in barrels under a natural veil of yeasts (“flor”) that prevents excessive oxidation. However, as maturation spans over several years, oxidation happens slowly and imparts complex aromas of walnut, ripe apple etc.
While in the case of Sherry making these aromas are desirable, it’s not the case for regular table wines and constitutes an off-flavor.
- Origin: Exposing the wine to ambient air leads to the oxidation of ethanol and other wine compounds imparting apple like aromas (due to the formation of acetaldehyde) when it’s light to a nutty/sherry aroma when it’s more developed. Wine colour is also affected and turns orange due to the oxidation of anthocyanins.
Winemakers follows stringent protocols to minimise exposure to air and reduced the risk of oxidation. Sulfites (or SO2) are added after bottling and before applying the closure to minimize that effect too.
- Wine styles: Some wines are deliberately made with some oxidative aromas. For example, “Vin Jaune” produced in Jura (France) has a similar process to Sherry making but the resulting flavours are different due to the grape variety used- Savagnin- which has some unusual aromas. Some Chardonnay makers like this aroma profile in their wines too.
However, in most of table wines, Sherry-like aromas should not be perceived.
- Aroma standard: Place few drops of sherry in a white/red wine base. You can try oxidizing a wine yourself by exposing it to air, however it may produce a vinegary aroma rather than a sherry aroma due to the natural presence of acetic bacteria in your environment
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