Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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tasting term commonly associated with the wine fault caused by brettanomyces yeasts and some bacteria, including some, but not all, lactic acid bacteria. Although the exact mechanism of mousy taint formation is not totally clear, for example why some wines are spoiled and others are not despite the presence of micro-organisms capable of producing the fault, it is evident that low levels of sulfur dioxide, high ph, and exposure to oxygen render a wine vulnerable to this spoilage. Mousiness is usually apparent only after a wine has been swallowed or expectorated. Once detected, the taint renders the wine undrinkable and worsens in the glass, but as many as 30% of winemakers are unable to detect it. Three different compounds (2-acetyltetrahydropiridine, 2-ethyltetrahydropiridine, and 2-acetylpyrroline) are responsible.