Definition - What does Pungent mean?

Pungent is an adjective used to describe a wine that has volatile acidity (VA) on the nose. This means that Acetobacter aceti is present and it is a negative trait. However, a pungent wine can also have positive traits. For example, a Retsina wine is known to have a strong nose of turpentine, a pungent aroma.

WineFrog explains Pungent

There are many wines which can be considered pungent. These are wines which are typically made following tradition and/or local wine laws which guarantee authenticity.

A few examples of this are:

  • Retsina is traditionally made by coating the inside of holding vessels with the sap from the Aleppo pine tree. This has been done since the time of the Romans and is still practiced today. The wine which ages in these vats become pungent.
  • Some Sherry made in Jerez de la Frontera are considered pungent. The flor in which some wine styles are aged with create a strong aroma in the wine.
  • Madeira is pungent from the estufagem process by which it is aged and oxidized.
  • Some late harvest German wines can be pungent with notes of asphalt and gasoline.
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