How to tell if a wine is corked
Corked wine is something we’ve all heard of, but you may not know if you’ve ever actually encountered it. We’re going to break down what it means when a wine is ‘corked’ and what you should do when you buy a corked bottle.
Let’s start with what isn’t corked wine:
A corked wine is one that has been contaminated with cork taint, and this contamination gives off a very distinct smell and taste. Cork taint occurs in a small percentage of all natural corks available in the world, with recent studies finding that only about 1-2% of wines with natural corks are actually corked.
While drinking corked wine is not harmful to your health, it does ruin the experience, and you should always return the bottle if you believe it is corked.
How does cork taint occur?
Since cork is a natural substance, little microorganisms often like to eat it, either while it’s still part of the tree or after it’s been turned into a wine cork. In small instances, these airborne fungi come in contact with the cork and create a substance known as TCA, a nasty chemical compound that ruins the wine the second the wine in the bottle comes in contact with it.
Corked Wine Taste & Corked Wine Smell
So how do you know if a wine is corked? Corked wine gives off a smell that is similar to a dank moldy basement, a wet newspaper or a wet dog. When you actually sip the wine, a typical corked wine taste will be flat and dull, exhibiting no fruit characteristics. Some people also say that corked wine tastes astringent.