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What is Cork Taint?

Joelle Nebbe posted this on 7 Jul 2017

Unlike most other faults, corking happens immediately after bottling. We like to think that our range will suffer less than most, but nonetheless, corking will occur from time to time.

Cork taint is the most common wine fault, and is caused by harmless bacteria which ruin the smell and taste of the wine, that managed to survive in microscopic cracks of the cork.This bacteria will then produce molecules which affect the taste and smell of the wine. Better quality in cork production has greatly reduced corking, but it can never be totally avoided.

In general there is no mistaking a corked bottle of wine; a mustiness on the nose, and a very dull, sometimes unpleasant taste.

Sometimes mild cork taint can be hard to detect, especially if you don't know the wine. In mild cases the wine is just less "bright" and duller than it should be, and this can often only be confirmed by comparing with another bottle.

There is nothing to be done except throw it away, and, if the wine was purchased in the last few months, contact us for refund/replacement.

PS: you might find stories about cling film removing cork taint. This was true but that type of cling film is not produced anymore - we tested quite a few the last time we had a corked wine. In theory, cork taint can be removed because the molecules don't really modify the wine, they affect our tastebuds and scent receptors.

Categories: Wine Advice
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