What’s he on about? There’s no bits of cork in the wine!

Dear Wine Ladies,

Last weekend, at one of our favorite restaurants, we ordered a bottle of wine with which we were very familiar.

Dear Wine Ladies,

Last weekend, at one of our favorite restaurants, we ordered a bottle of wine with which we were very familiar.

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?

Gary

Hamilton.Ontario

Dear Gary,

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 8% regarding wines being affected by cork taint – which results in a wine void of any fruit on the nose, and having a wet card-board or moldy type of smell. The hugely significant departure from cork closures to screw caps and others is mainly due to the high incidence of cork taint which not only affects a wineries bottom line, but also the further sales of the wine. Not everyone can recognize cork taint, and are sometimes led to believe that’s just the taste of the wine, and they don’t like it.

Cork taint is caused by a number of compounds, with TCA (trichloranisole) 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

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