Let's demystify corked wine and what it means. Read on.
If you've run in wine circles, you've probably heard someone say, 'I think this wine is corked'.
Corked wine or Cork Taint has been a debated topic of discussion since the 1980s when it was discovered.
So What Is Corked Wine?
Corked wine is when Cork Taint impacts the cork closure. What's important to mention here is that a wine can only be corked if it has a natural cork enclosure. Screw caps and synthetic cork closures may still contain wines with flaws, but cork taint is reserved for cork closures.
The actual flaw (Cork Taint) is from a chemical compound called 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, or TCA for short. TCA occurs when natural cork fungi come in contact with certain winery sterilization products. Once the wine is exposed to TCA, it becomes flawed or corked.
How To Tell If A Wine Is Corked?
Corked wine smells like wet cardboard or a damp basement. The wine will fall flat on the palate, with the fruit being muted and reduced. Note that while TCA can render wine undrinkable, it is harmless.
The existence of corked wine should not scare you or steer you away from drinking wine. It is estimated that less than 4% of wines are corked, and if you run into one, you can return it or exchange it for a different bottle. All restaurants and bottle shops will stand behind their wines and gladly address your concerns about corked wine.