If this title didn’t interest you, let’s try another way to say it. What is corked wine?
Corked wine is a real phenomenon, and it comes from any wine that has a real cork. As with most everything, nothing is perfect, and a percentage of corks are tainted with an organic compound that imparts a taint to the cork and ultimately, to the wine. This organic compound is called 2,4,6 trichloroanisole or briefly, TCA.
Will cork taint hurt you? Absolutely not. It doesn’t taste great or smell great, and it definitely makes the wine taste differently than how it should taste, but by no means, is it harmful to your health.
In fact, a corked wine reminds me a great deal of the smell in my grandmother’s house. It is a very specific aroma that some equate to wet cardboard or others a basement.
Once you smell a corked wine, you will remember that smell forever. Of course, there are variations of corked wine. Some are badly corked while others are slightly tainted. If you’re not sure about a wine, allow it to sit in the glass for five minutes without swirling or touching. After time has passed, dip your nose in the glass and if the wine is corked, you will know it right away.
Ever wonder why so many wines are going to screw cap or synthetic corks? Cork taint is a big reason for alternative closures for wine. Before you disregard a bottle of wine as being bad or undrinkable, make sure it isn’t tainted by TCA. If you have any thoughts that the wine may be corked, alert the sommelier or your wine salesperson and allow them the opportunity to try it. If the wine is infected with cork taint, you’re more than likely to get a new bottle and try the wine the way it should taste.