Tag Archives: corked wine

What Makes Wine Smell Musty?

Question from Kristy: What makes the wine smell musty? Can it still taste okay?

Reply: There are a few different reasons the wine might smell musty. And, you decide if it tastes okay. Here are some possibilities:

Maybe you chemists or microbiologists can enlighten us with some other causes?

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What’s a “Corked” Wine?

After last week’s post on where corks come from, Jan wrote in to ask what it means when someone says the wine is corked. Here’s a brief explanation:

I should add that cork taint is an equal opportunity problem and can afflict everything from two-buck Chuck to Chateau Sticker Shock!

Jan’s question leads us to another one: What kind of seal will be the most common 25 years from now? Anyone want to place a bet?

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Is There a Cork Shortage?

There’s this persistent rumor going round that there’s a cork shortage. Any truth to it? Nope. 

I feel like I’m pulling far fewer bad corks out of bottles over the past few years. How about you? And, how do you feel about the alternatives? 

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Restaurant Wine Service

Restaurant-

Question from Mike: What am I supposed to do when the wine comes at a restaurant? I’m okay ordering it but I get really embarrassed when the waiter gives me the cork and all that.

Reply: Hi, Mike. I’ll be a lot of people will be really glad you wrote to ask. It can be a little intimidating.  

The most important thing to remember is that you’re the customer and the server really wants you to be happy so don’t worry about any potential faux pas. Here’s how it goes:

The server brings the wine to the person who ordered it and shows it to him/her. Go ahead and check the label to double check that you got what you ordered. 

The most common mistake is that the wrong vintage comes to the table. If so, you might ask your server if there’s a significant difference between the vintages. For myself, if the wine is from California or some other warm climate situation, I don’t worry too much about the vintage. If it’s European, the vintage can play a bigger role. Ask the server. If the restaurant’s any good at all, he’ll probably offer you a taste. If you do a lot of dining out you might download a vintage chart. Here’s one from Robert Parker. And one from Wine Spectator. Continue reading

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“Corked” Fruits and Vegetables!

There’s been a fun discussion going on in the Snooth forum that’s sort of related to yesterday’s post on cork taint. We’ve been talking about “corked” produce. Have you ever had a banana or a carrot that isn’t moldy but has the moldy, TCA character? I have, and it turns out lots of other people have, too. Carrots seems to be the biggest offenders.

Of course, cork is wood (it’s the bark of the cork-oak tree: Quercus Suber). It turns out that other wood surfaces like wooden picking or shipping boxes and oak barrels can impart TCA to your fresh fruit or vegetables! This was confirmed for me when I met with the lab crew at the winery where I worked regarding tainted tasting samples. the reply to my inquiry was “Absolutely, TCA can turn up in fruits and vegetables.” Nice to know I’m not completely nuts (I wonder if nuts can have it 😉 As with wine, it’s not harmful, but it’s not very tasty, either!

Had some “corked” blueberrries a few days ago – very disappointing! Anybody out there had a similar experience?

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