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I semi-often come across the “flavor” of dried apricots when drinking red wine. It renders the wine undrinkable for me, yet none of my friends seem to know what on earth I’m talking about. I find it more often with French Rhones that have even a little bit of age on them and less often in the more chewy Californian versions. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m actually sensitive to something in the wine (sulfite or other compound) and if maybe the “flavor” is more of a complex response of multiple senses to an allergen or toxin that I’m particularly sensitive to. Have you ever heard of this and do you have any insight?
Hi, Winnie. Thanks for writing! Hmmm… hard to say what’s going on. When I think of the flavor of dried apricots the smell and flavor of sulfur always comes to mind because most dried fruits are preserved with a great deal (up to 1000 ppm) of SO2. The limit for food is much higher than it is for wine in the US.
So, sulfites are a possible guess, but I don’t think of Rhone reds being any higher in sulfites than other wines. Whites are usually higher than reds, especially sweet whites.
So, I’m afraid it’s a mystery to me.
Syrah (one of the varieties of the Rhone) has a tendency to go sulfide-y during fermentation but a good winemaker is ready for that and knows how to deal with it. Hydrogen sulfides smell like rotten eggs.
Perhaps someone with greater technical expertise can help you out? Anyone out there? Best of luck on finding the answer to the mystery! Cheers! Nancy
I have a 4yo bottle of Martini & Rossi, Asti, sparkling wine. it’s been in the fridge for 3yrs, is it ok to drink?
Hi, April. Thanks for writing. It certainly won’t hurt you to give it a try. It’s probably not at its best, but not harmful. If the color has browned that’s a sure sign of a very tired wine but the carbon dioxide gas may have helped to keep it somewhat fresh. My suggestion? Give it a try and have a back-up bottle ready if it isn’t any good. Good luck! Nancy
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