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Why do I smell reductive aroma so often? Does my nose have a problem?

by A subscriber of WIne Tasting Tips

From a 2009 article by researchers of the Australian Research Institute

From a 2009 article by researchers of the Australian Research Institute

Thank you for sharing an insight with the oxidation study. It's quite interesting since lately I feel like my nose has a problem: I smell reductive note in 4/10 wines, which I feel is like a lot. Any possible reasons?

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Three possible explanations to smelling reductive aromas
by: Isabelle

Thanks for your question. I can think of three possible explanations related to the experience you described.

Reductive aromas, like oxidative aromas, develop after wine bottling; oxygen management during this operation likely causes the accelerated development of one or the other compound categories as shown in the figure above.

1st explanation:

You may perceive reductive notes if the wines you consume most often haven't been exposed to enough oxygen during the bottling operation. Typical reductive notes are described by these attributes: "rotten egg" or "sewage" or "cooked cabbage". Very unpleasant aromas when they are noticeably present.

2nd explanation:
The wines you consume most often are under screw caps, which do not allow for oxygen transfer during aging. My trick is to pour some wine in a glass and aerate it by swirling the glass a few times. The good news with reductive compounds is that they are very volatile and go away quickly. Most compounds belong to the sulfur family, which are small molecules.

3rd explanation:
It is possible that your ability to smell other aromas has declined (it’s normal as we age gracefully), and therefore the sulfur compounds stick out.

Hope it helps! feel free to add your comment below.
Source of the figure showing effect of oxygen on key wine compounds.

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