What is Corked Wine?

cork taint  in wineTo get things rolling, let’s discuss a topic that I have enjoyed discussing elsewhere recently – faulty wines and bottles. The question always arises – how do I know if a wine is ‘faulty’ and ‘what should I do about it’? This is actually fodder for a NUMBER of different blog posts coming your way in the near future, but for now, let’s deal with TCA and ‘corked wines’.

First of all, how many of you truly know what a ‘corked wine’ is? There’s no harm in not knowing – it’s a term I used for a long time without truly understanding it. And everyone has different recognition thresholds for the chemical compound TCA (tri-chloro anisoles). To me and many others, it smells like wet concrete or cardboard. At very low levels, though, the aromatics of a wine are simply ‘robbed’ and you won’t smell a thing or simply ‘muted’ aromas.

Second, if and when you run across a corked wine, do you a) always return it to where it’s purchased; b) only return it if you purchased it locally; c) only return it if it’s over a certain price point: or d) never return it because you expect this to happen every now and then?

Please comment below…I’ll be waiting. (-:


3 comments on “What is Corked Wine?

  1. Mr WordPress says:

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  2. Tony Mastres says:

    Hey Larry, I feel pretty confident I can detect a “corked” bottle and I will usually return it if at all practical. If not “practical” I will usually notify the producer of the the specifics of the bottle (vintage, vineyard etc.) so at least they know that there was a flawed bottle. For me, TCA taint is a pretty easy call but other wine flaws are a lot tougher to call and I look forward to any tips you can give on how to determine what is a flaw beyond Cork-taint. Great Blog 🙂

  3. Thanks for the reply, Tony! Great to hear that you can detect TCA pretty easily – it’s probably a blessing and a curse at the same time (-: And it’s great that you both return the product and notify the producer – hopefully that helps the industry as a whole get a better handle on the issue at hand. How many times have you detected TCA when you’ve been with friends who were not that familiar with it and ‘showed’ them what it was? What was their reaction? Always a favorite thing for me to do . . .

    As far as other wine taints go, come on up some time and I can take you through some wines/barrels to show you some other ‘stuff’ – and we can head over to a few restaurants where they most likely have ‘bad’ bottles put aside/


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