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Old 04-22-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default I was served CORK TAINTED wine at a tasting

I used to drink wine exclusively before I started brewing beer,and in several years of wine drinking I only got a couple of bottles that were tainted.That smell and flavor is unmistakeable and almost ruined me for my favorite cheap but good and well rated wine(Columbia Crest Shiraz)
So me and SWMBO were out of town in Joplin,MO and stopped in a store that also has one at the state line.It's a great store with a ton of good beer and wine and they usually have a tasting.This day they were tasting down in their cellar(where the expensive stuff is)and had 4 bottles of Zin from the same vineyard-all differently aged.I tried the oldest first and it was good if zin is your thing.The youngest bottle was 1/2 gone and one guy was tasting it and saying how good it was.I asked for a pour and when I smelled it-OMFG total cork taint-BAD!They had served 1/2 bottle to people w/o ever smelling it.I pointed it out to the server who poured some in a glass and took a whiff and immediately put the bottle behind the bar and opened another.
Later we were eating at our favorite italian resturant and were asked if we wanted a glass of wine,so I asked the server if he was familiar w/ what he served and related my earlier tasting/cork taint story.He replied "If we get any cork in the bottle we throw it out."So I asked if he knew what cork taint was--No idea!Are the majority of wine drinkers oblivious?I wonder what the first 10 or so people thought of that cork tainted bottle.Anyone had a similar experience?


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Old 04-22-2009, 06:44 PM   #2
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Most people are oblivious. I live in a very affluent area where most people drink wine. A couple weeks ago I got a corked bottle and took it back to the store I bought it from. Now granted it was a grocery store, but with a HUGE wine selection. The lady behind the counter is like, 'we don't take back wine.' And looks at me like I am an idiot for saying the wine is corked. I then went on to rant about how I am perfectly aware of the distribution system in Wisconsin and that any retailer and distributor have a corked arrangement that is normally in the range of 10% of the volume. That means that they expect to get kick back from 10% of the bottles. (A lot of that volume is burned giving out taste bottles though )

So this lady gets all upitty and acts like I am trying to scam her. So I say, fine call your liquor manager is you don't believe me. She said no so I just left the bottle with her to toss and stormed off to go buy some groceries. Then, as I am shopping, a somewhat flustered manager comes up to me and offers me a generous credit for a new bottle of wine.

The point is, they obviously never deal with anyone who brings back cocked bottles. People are either drinking them or just tossing them and taking the hit. Both dumb by my estimation.


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Old 04-22-2009, 10:23 PM   #3
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Maybe its just a volume issue.
Making my own wine for a number of years I have had occasional bottles go corked (Hasn't happened to me since I switched to agglomerated cork though).
I think a lot of people simply haven't run across the phenomenon in their wine drinking "careers"
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:28 PM   #4
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I dont even know what the hell it is
this post would better if you definded the term
if you want to combat Ignorance, take the first step.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:53 PM   #5
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this is the second time today I've heard of 'cork taint'. (winetalk.com was the other place )
i'm assuming its a weird, corky flavor/aroma imparted ot the wine due to that cork being of inferior quality?
and thus agglomerated corks don't have the problem? nor would synthetic corks?
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
I dont even know what the hell it is
this post would better if you definded the term
if you want to combat Ignorance, take the first step.
Cork taint is a fungus or mold that grows on some cork.I'm surprised that it isn't more widely known about-especially on this forum.You guys are the most widely informed bunch of booze enthusiasts I've encountered.If you ever get a bottle that IS tainted-you will NOT forget it.Here's a link that describes it in more detail than I'm willing to type.

30 Second Wine Advisor: Cork taint or not? - wineloverspage.com
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:44 PM   #7
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Cork taint affects about 3-5% of wines, some people say more. It comes from a fungus as stated, specifically the cork absorbs trichloroanisole (TCA) from the mold and it gets into the wine. People describe it like wet newspaper or damp dank sort of aroma, and it can be detected even in tiny amounts by some peope (think several parts per trillion).

From what i've learned, there is debate (maybe argument is a better word) about where it originates, the cork producers like to blame the winery, saying they have mold in their facilities or barrels, and wineries like to blame the corks. I know chlorine can make it worse, part of why wineries try to stay away from bleach, often times.

I've only smelled a corked wine once i think, when i wasn't familiar with it, but someone specifically let me smell it so i knew what it was ( i was a busboy) and i would know what cork taint smelled like.

Since then, I was actually given a chance to smell a solution of TCA, not a wine, just a sample of a high concentration of TCA that a wine maker had for education, and honestly, i couldn't smell it that well. I know some people have more sensitive noses than others and I think i recall hearing that TCA often can only be smelled at first and then the sensory nerves in the nose get exhausted by it, so the first sniff or two is bad, and then it dissipates to the senses, at least when in small amounts.

A genuinely heavily corked bottle may be a lot more noticeable than that, but some people I think also try to pass it off (to others or themselves) as just being a quality of the wine when it's not overwhelming.

It's funny that people are so unfamiliar with cork taint, considering that is one of the major reasons servers pour a small amount for the host to sample. After all, you can't send back a bottle you chose just because you think it sucks, unless it's tainted or turned to vinegar.

Edit: Oh, and, yeah, since it's expected in a certain percent of all natural corks, the winery (or distributor) should always take back the bad bottle and replace it or refund it, when we had a tainted bottle at the restaurant we would bring up stairs and the owner would give it back to the distributor later (and no he wouldn't just drink it and write it off, he was to busy drinking the GOOD stuff ).

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Old 04-22-2009, 11:55 PM   #8
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I've only had one bottle of corked wine. It was so disappointing, because it was an expensive wine and we had a wonderful dinner ready, and opened the wine to find that it was corked!

I know it's fairly common, but I just haven't really experienced it more than once.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:57 PM   #9
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After a couple bad bottles came my way I'm the poster child for synthetic corks and screw caps.A while back I read an article in Wine Spectator magazine where they did a study w/ wine stoppered w/ cork,syn cork ,and screw caps.In a blind tasting everyone said the capped and syn. corked wines tasted brighter and more flavorful than the naturally corked bottles.
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Old 04-23-2009, 04:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCCOLA View Post
After a couple bad bottles came my way I'm the poster child for synthetic corks and screw caps.A while back I read an article in Wine Spectator magazine where they did a study w/ wine stoppered w/ cork,syn cork ,and screw caps.In a blind tasting everyone said the capped and syn. corked wines tasted brighter and more flavorful than the naturally corked bottles.
I know a (commercial) winemaker who has been using and pushing for more use of screw caps, he swears by them, uses them on all of his whites.

In the last few years i think he has been doing some aging experiments with corked and screw caps on the reds. I haven't heard any results (it's a work in progress anyway) but i think he said it's been looking good.


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