Top 10 ludicrous but true wine descriptors

10 – Mice

MouseMousiness is different from horsiness. Horsiness (or horse manure, sweaty saddle) is associated with brettanomyces, covered previously under the ‘manure’ heading.

Mousiness is not a result of brettanomyces infection, rather lactic acid bacteria, and hence can become a problem during malolactic fermentation. The compounds responsible are derivatives of the amino acid lysine, which, incidentally, is often used to treat cold sores.

These compounds not volatile at the acidity level of a wine, and therefore not obvious as an aroma. However, when mixed with saliva they can become very apparent on the palate, especially at the back of the mouth. Squeak.


3 Responses to “Top 10 ludicrous but true wine descriptors”

  1. Anthony Rose says:

    This comment was deleted from the revised version as Anthony Hanson realised that what he’d been describing was brett and so, not surprisingly didn’t want to perpetuate the misleading association. Much the same occurred in Australia when luminaries such as James Halliday discovered that the leathery character of Hunter Valley Shiraz previously described as ‘sweaty saddles’ was in fact closer to blazing saddles than umami.

  2. Rita Erlich says:

    Thanks for all of that. But I’d question one thing, under point 10 : horsiness is not really the same as horse manure. Horsiness is the smell of clean horses, animal, but not manure. It’s a smell that also appears in violets. Some violets (not all) have horsy notes, so do some black truffles. I’d love to know what the chemical compound is.

  3. Pamela says:

    Of note, the term on slide 6 should be ‘Foxy’, not Foxes. Its a wild, musky odor that is prevalent in varieties like Concord. I think ‘Foxy’ fits the smell well 😉

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