Volatile Acidity in a wine

Hi everyone,

Could someone please say how to decipher  VA in a wine while blind tasting. Does it only exist in tannic reds or those that had good oak treatment/possible warm climate viticulture.

Thank you.


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  • Deb, VA is combination of 2 primary compounds, Acetic acid (essentially vinegar) and ethyl acetate (nailpolish remover aroma) . These compounds form when OXygen is exposed to acetic acid bacteria or when I fermented sugars are exposed to a lactobacillus Infection. The oxidative environment that the acetic acid bacteria is exposed to most of the time is generally large older casks ( think Nebbiolo from NW Italy.). The unfermemted sugars scenario I find happens in new world wines grown in warm climates (think NAPA Cabernet, Zinfandel.) 

    In the case of blind tasting you would call VA, as “VA” you find these VA in wines such as Nebbiolo, high abv new world wines,  Sangiovese that has been aged in large older bottle or casks. 

    I hope this helps, anyone with stronger knowlwedge please jump in.