Corked wine…? Doesn’t wine normally come with a cork? Whaaaat? Is this when the wine has little bits of cork floating in it…?
No. When you hear the term “the wine is corked” it is referring to wine that has been contaminated with cork taint.
Last week I shared my favorite wine gadgets and tools, and last week I also opened a bottle of wine that was corked.
Contrary to what it sounds like, cork taint doesn’t taste like cork. It will, however, make your wine smell and taste like a damp basement or a wet dog. Neither of those things are very nice. When the waiter offers you the cork and expects that you will inspect it and sniff it, you can usually already smell if the wine is corked.
There is a chemical compound called TCA (2,4,6 – trichloroanisole, if you care about the science-y aspect of it.) TCA is formed when natural fungi (which can reside in cork) come in contact with certain chemicals, bleaches and other sanitation and sterilization products that wineries need to use. The wine becomes tainted if the winery uses the infected corks.
This is a pretty serious problem for the winery, because TCA can contaminate an entire cellar or winery, not just a single bottle. Most wineries have totally eliminated the use of chlorine based clearing products because TCA can be so difficult to get rid of.
Cork taint can’t hurt you, but it ruins your bottle of wine… and who wants that!? I mentioned that I opened a bottle of wine the other night and it was corked. (If you follow me on Instagram you already saw me complaining about it.) I returned the bottle to the store where I purchased it. They took it back without question. Note: It is best to not try and return a mostly empty bottle… They offered to replace it with a new bottle, but I declined. If one bottle was corked, chances are the others in that shipment were as well.
Life is short. If the wine isn’t good, don’t drink it!
Shannon Fox says
This is so good for me to know for entertaining since I don’t drink but would want to be aware of something like this!
The smell gives it away every time. 🙂
Dee @Cupcakes&Crowbars says
I’ll be honest, I googled it after your IG post, because I had no idea! I’ve gotten bad wine before, just didn’t know why. We winos NEED more PSA’s like this, Viv!
Cheers! Glad it helped! 🙂
Impulsive Addict says
You said taint. Cork taint. I’m dirty. Sorry.
Anyway, this was educational for me. I would not know what to do if a waiter handed me a cork to inspect. I’d probably drop it in my purse to put in my wine cork collector.
Wet dog? Really? Gross.
JaneEllen Jones says
We’re not wine drinkers but if I were somewhere and somebody got a corked bottle I’d know what to tell somebody to do. Wet dog, ooooeeeehhhh.
Thank you for explaining this phrase. I’ve read it in a comments section in reviews of a wine and had never heard of it before. Now we’ll know what We should and shouldn’t smell in a cork. I’m hoping the waiter is familiar with the term If we ever refuse a wine after smelling a bad cork.