Have you ever opened a bottle of wine and gotten a whiff of something surprising and, uh, animalic? “Now, I am not a scatologist, and never wanted to be, but I would say that yes, there are different kinds of ‘poop’ aromas in some wines,” says Bill Hunt. “Some are varietal in character, some are faults and some of these ‘faults’ seem to be cultivated by different wine makers.”

“Baby poop” is not the same note as “barnyard,” says zin1953. “Baby poop” is the classic descriptor for the Mourvedre grape (the French use the more genteel term “animale,” says maria lorraine). “Barnyard” refers to the smell of a barnyard—also called “horsey-barney” or “horse sweat”—and is a common descriptor for wine infected with the yeast Brettanomyces.

Are these animalic notes bad? “So, is it safe to believe about wine, that if it’s totally off-putting, it’s not good, but if it’s alluringly off in a delicious way it may be OK?” wonders pickpicky. “I know in my first marriage to the wine broker, that we had AMAZING BIBLICAL Rhones and Burgundies from stellar vintages with all kinds of poop-ish and strange body odors, but they were absolutely delicious.” Trust your palate, advises maria lorraine—if it tastes good to you, it is good.

Board Link: Need help from wine smartypantses–re:‘barnyard’

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