Dear Wine Ladies,
Last weekend at one of our favorite restaurants we ordered a bottle of wine that we were very familiar with. It tasted foul so we sent it back. The waiter had no problem taking it back and bringing us another bottle which was fine Afterward we wondered what could have been the reason the first bottle tasted so bad. Is there a common explanation for this?
Kudos to you for returning the wine and to the restaurant for graciously taking it back. As for the reasons why a wine may go bad or taste a little off, it can usually be attributed to either cork taint or oxidation.
Some estimates are actually as high as eight percent regarding wines being affected by cork taint which results in a wine void of any fruit on the nose, and having a wet cardboard or moldy type of smell if it has a bad case of it.
Cork taint is caused by number of compounds, with TCA (trichloroanisole) being the most significant. If a wine is oxidized, having been exposed to too much oxygen the wine will have lost its fruit smell and taste. This will be replaced with a stale odour, or sometimes an odour that might even remind you a little of sherry.
This fault can also result in the wine losing its intensity of colour and/or turning a little brownish for the reds and yellowish for the whites.