October 19, 2008


VA stands for volatile acidity, a malady in most table wines. Acetic acid is the most common volatile acid in wine. Know the smell of vinegar? That's acetic acid.

VA in pinot noir is particularly egregious, because great pinot noir is all about purity and elegant perfume. Some wines can benefit from a little VA, in particular Rhone wines. The volatility can enhance or "lift" a wine's aroma. But in pinot noir, I hate it.

The other day I noticed a 2004 Pinot Noir from a local producer in a discount store. Sometimes this store has incredible buys, and though I've never had any wines from this particular producer, I'd read some good things on the internet from a source I trust.

Beware what you read on the internet.

This wine is so riddled with VA that I simply can't, or at least won't, drink it. The only redeeming quality here is the reminder to carefully monitor my upcoming fermentation, maintain a high level of cleanliness, and be smart about sulfur dioxide. SO2 is essential to prevent VA. I'm not sure what happened with this wine, but I'm going to work hard to keep it from happening to mine.

No comments: