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What is Corked Wine and How to Tell if Your Wine is Corked?

Beginner's Guide to Corked Wine

Corked Wine

What is Corked Wine?

Corked wine refers to when a wine is contaminated with cork taint. This can occur if the wine is bottled with a TCA-infected cork. Now you may be wondering what is TCA? TCA is a chemical compound formed when there is contact between fungi (that is naturally found in cork) and certain cleaning products like chlorides.

How to Tell if Your Wine is Corked and Which Wines Become Corked?

Corked wine can be detected by smell and/or taste. When a wine is corked it might smell like soggy, or musty cardboard or a wet dog. Often the cork taint also mutes the fruitiness of the wine, and dulls the overall flavors on the palate.

Only wines closed with a natural cork will become corked. Corked wine is also more common than you might think as some individuals may not be aware they are drinking corked wine! 

What if I can't Tell that it's Corked?

Everyone has different sensitivities it may be easier or more difficult to smell corked wine, especially if the level of cork taint is only minor. The biggest clues for a mildly tainted wine will be the muted fruit aromas and flavors.

What Do I do if the Wine is Corked? Can I Send it Back?

Cork Taint isn't a taste preference, but is instead a flaw in the wine/bottling. Thus, any good restaurant sommelier should and will take back the bottle and open a new one. Most often retail shops will also accept a return of a corked bottle. Just be sure to bring back the rest of the bottle and also don't let too much time pass between the purchase and attempted return.


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