Question from Kristy: What makes the wine smell musty? Can it still taste okay?
Reply: There are a few different reasons the wine might smell musty. And, you decide if it tastes okay. Here are some possibilities:
Maybe you chemists or microbiologists can enlighten us with some other causes?
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Question from Steve: I opened a bottle of white wine and it had these shiny crystals, kind of like sugar on the cork. Is that wine okay?
Reply: Hi, Steve. Thanks for writing! Yup, it should be just fine.
A great thing about wine is that even if it’s spoiled it’s not harmful – unless you drink too much, of course! The worst thing that happens is you’re offended by the smell or taste, in which case you should take it back or dump it.
MAJOR DIGRESSION: Please don’t use bad wine for cooking. That weird flavor is what you’re adding to the dish, just like any other ingredient, and cooking it down will just concentrate the weird flavor.
So, what’s with the crystals? It’s really quite common to come across them, especially in white wine. They’re not sugar – they’re mainly composed of tartaric acid, which is a very strong acid, and the main acid found in white wine. As you see, they can also be suspended in the wine. Continue reading