Friday, April 4, 2014

Non-Reviewing Post: What is wrong with my wine?

Non-Reviewing Post: What is wrong with my wine?

Dear Readers,

I settled in tonight with my laundry, TiVo, and a bottle of Oregon Pinot Blanc. My rockin' Friday night plans were thrown for a loop when my wine was corked. Corked I say! Damn and blast... 

But what is cork taint, you ask? Why was my wine ruined? Cork taint is a primary cause of product loss and failure, caused by 2, 4, 6-trichloranisole (TCA) and 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA). These little compounds cause a wine to take on odors of moldy basement and wet cardboard even at very low doses; they render a wine dull and flat at best -- undrinkable at worst. According to a 2004 Australian study 8.45 percent of wines are affected by TCA or TBA. That's like one egg in ever dozen being bad. Crazy, right? 

This high possibility of cork taint is why we have the tasting ritual in restaurants: when your Sommelier pours you a sip to taste, it's not to make sure you like what you ordered -- it's to ensure that the wine isn't fundamentally flawed by cork taint (or one of several potential other defects). 

While we call it cork taint for simplicity's sake, TCA and TBA can contaminate not only corks, but all sorts of wine making equipment: barrels, wooden barrel platforms, hoses, gaskets, etc... Just because you pick a bottle without a cork doesn't mean you're safe from the cork taint demon!

So what do you do if you have a "corked" bottle? Rest assured. Take it back to your friendly neighborhood wine shop. They should happily swap it out for a new bottle for you. 


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