What does "corked" taste like?

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David_S
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What does "corked" taste like?

#1 Post by David_S » May 13th, 2017, 6:46 am

Opened a 2014 Quivet Napa Valley last night. Never had a Quivet before and wanted to try since the next release is out. Words used in reviews I read include red fruit, sweet, too sweet, full flavors. What I tasted was extremely earthy. I got flavors of moss and dirt and did not enjoy it at all. Now I just assume their wine isn't for me, but realized, with a wine I've never tasted before I wouldn't know if I had an off bottle. If a wine is corked, what do you taste?
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Brian Tuite
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What does "corked" taste like?

#2 Post by Brian Tuite » May 13th, 2017, 7:40 am

David_S wrote:Opened a 2014 Quivet Napa Valley last night. Never had a Quivet before and wanted to try since the next release is out. Words used in reviews I read include red fruit, sweet, too sweet, full flavors. What I tasted was extremely earthy. I got flavors of moss and dirt and did not enjoy it at all. Now I just assume their wine isn't for me, but realized, with a wine I've never tasted before I wouldn't know if I had an off bottle. If a wine is corked, what do you taste?
For me it's more of what I smell. Wet newspaper/cardboard, musty beach floaty that was put away wet. Just an overwhelming whiff of dry mold. In many cases it can be slight but in extreme cases it masks the flavors of the wine as well.
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Ian Sutton
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What does "corked" taste like?

#3 Post by Ian Sutton » May 20th, 2017, 11:24 am

I find TCA difficult to spot unless it's really bad. I also rely a lot on the wet cardboard mustiness to pick it, but other things to look out for are muted fruit in a wine you'd expect it to be stronger, but also an unexpected imbalance of acids/tannin over fruit. It's this latter that might suggest a corked wine when no TCA is detectable (at least by those of us who don't pick it up in modest infections). This is much easier to use on a wine you know quite well, but on a new wine shouldn't be overly relied on.

The moss and dirt could indicate TCA, or could be another fault or from oxidation (did you get any hints of sherry aroma?). Difficult to tell without tasting.

Corked wines do come up from time to time, so keep an eye out for someone opening a bottle & declaring it corked. Ask them to let you smell and even taste, and to talk you through what to look for. So much easier to do this by example.
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Henry Kiichli
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What does "corked" taste like?

#4 Post by Henry Kiichli » May 20th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Wet Rotty cardboard.
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What does "corked" taste like?

#5 Post by Jason Hagen » May 21st, 2017, 11:13 am

All of the above. Keep in mind there are big variations in people's sensitivities. One taster I respect called a corked wine, wine of the night. He did smelled nothing off, and the wine was young enough where the fruit was still very present on the palate. I could not get past the smell or taste of the TCA.

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Rajiv Ayyangar
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What does "corked" taste like?

#6 Post by Rajiv Ayyangar » May 21st, 2017, 9:38 pm

Jason Hagen wrote:All of the above. Keep in mind there are big variations in people's sensitivities. One taster I respect called a corked wine, wine of the night. He did smelled nothing off, and the wine was young enough where the fruit was still very present on the palate. I could not get past the smell or taste of the TCA.

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Adding to Jason's point -If TCA happens to be below your personal threshold, then as a friend of mine likes to say, "You win!" - you can probably taste and drink the wine without any compromised perception.
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What does "corked" taste like?

#7 Post by Steve Slatcher » June 20th, 2017, 3:26 pm

Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:If TCA happens to be below your personal threshold, then as a friend of mine likes to say, "You win!" - you can probably taste and drink the wine without any compromised perception.
Not sure I would necessarily agree with that. It is possible for the TCA not to be perceived as such, but for the wine to be lacking fruit due to the TCA. If you are not familiar with the wine, you may not know what you are missing.

I agree with the above descriptions of corked wine. I'd just add that if you are friendly with a restaurant or wine merchant, they might let you smell/taste wine that was returned by customers as corked. That will give a much better idea than any number of words or comparisons. I found that once I had experienced a badly corked bottle it was a lot easier to zero in on the smell to detect it in less badly affected wine, which is a lot more difficult.

BTW I seem to be able to detect it easier when the wine is in my mouth compared to when I sniff it. Most people report the opposite, but there must be some others like me, and you might be one of them.

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What does "corked" taste like?

#8 Post by Rajiv Ayyangar » June 20th, 2017, 4:46 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:If TCA happens to be below your personal threshold, then as a friend of mine likes to say, "You win!" - you can probably taste and drink the wine without any compromised perception.
Not sure I would necessarily agree with that. It is possible for the TCA not to be perceived as such, but for the wine to be lacking fruit due to the TCA. If you are not familiar with the wine, you may not know what you are missing.
...

BTW I seem to be able to detect it easier when the wine is in my mouth compared to when I sniff it. Most people report the opposite, but there must be some others like me, and you might be one of them.
Agree on all of the above.

If you don't perceive the TCA and the wine seems diminished, I'd give it the benefit of doubt that the TCA is depressing the aromatics. But in my experience, most of the time those who do not perceive TCA think the wine is delicious.
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What does "corked" taste like?

#9 Post by Alan Rath » July 26th, 2017, 9:14 pm

David, what you describe doesn't sound like TCA. As others have said, you'll usually smell TCA long before you can taste it's effects. What you had sounds more like Geosmin or some other flaw. Here's a nice article that has an overview of some of the chemistry of good and bad things in wine:

http://winefolly.com/review/where-wine- ... come-from/

As for TCA, it has a distinct, distinct aroma that you'll never miss once you learn it. People often describe wet newspaper or cardboard, but it's neither of those (unless the dampness actually produces TCA, which is not that common). You'll find it in nature frequently, once you know it (particularly in areas that are damp, and may have been treated with chlorine cleaners and disinfectants, since having chlorine around as a precursor is necessary to the mold that produces it). Garden areas with shredded bark can sometimes suffer, "baby" carrots in bags are notorious, etc. I've picked it up around the entrance to hospital ERs in winter, where things are damp and chlorine disinfectant is in constant use. The best way to experience TCA is to go to your local wine shop and see if they have a corked bottle in the back that someone returned, or that they opened.
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What does "corked" taste like?

#10 Post by jhemming » August 3rd, 2017, 4:46 am

I'm also not very sensitive to TCA and often wonder if an underwhelming bottle is so b/c of its presence that I am just not picking up.

One thing I try to do is try to detect it right after a pour without any swirling or disruption.
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What does "corked" taste like?

#11 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » November 25th, 2017, 3:47 pm

I had my first experience with corked wine this week - a 2014 Carlisle Petite Sirah. Was
Expecting some earthiness, but it was full-on pungent musty basement and mushroom that overwhelmed any fruit. 2/3 of us knew it, one wasnt sold on it. Even after Rinsing the glasses out and pouring another wine, the aromas stuck around until we switched out the glasses. Thats when we were nearly certain. Luckily i had another bottle that we opened the next night b/c i just had to know if it was the wine or a bad bottle. It was definitely corked. The next bottle was full of great dark fruit and some earth that was not the prominent flavor or scent.

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What does "corked" taste like?

#12 Post by Michael Martin » November 25th, 2017, 4:38 pm

C Glarner wrote:I had my first experience with corked wine this week - a 2014 Carlisle Petite Sirah. Was
Expecting some earthiness, but it was full-on pungent musty basement and mushroom that overwhelmed any fruit. 2/3 of us knew it, one wasnt sold on it. Even after Rinsing the glasses out and pouring another wine, the aromas stuck around until we switched out the glasses. Thats when we were nearly certain. Luckily i had another bottle that we opened the next night b/c i just had to know if it was the wine or a bad bottle. It was definitely corked. The next bottle was full of great dark fruit and some earth that was not the prominent flavor or scent.
Yep, musty basement/ wet cardboard. You know it right away.

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What does "corked" taste like?

#13 Post by Barry L i p t o n » November 26th, 2017, 12:47 am

Wet cardboard smell is strongly corked. Lightly corked will often just taste like it was stripped of fruit and a clipped finish. Easiest to tell if you’ve had a good bottle before.

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Drew Goin
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What does "corked" taste like?

#14 Post by Drew Goin » November 27th, 2017, 1:25 am

From the Academic Wino blog:

"What is Cork Taint? And Does the Average Wine Consumer Notice or Care?: My Latest Piece on The Alcohol Professor"

http://www.academicwino.com/2017/10/cor ... ssor.html/

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What does "corked" taste like?

#15 Post by Geoff K » April 7th, 2018, 1:00 pm

The longer you're into wine and the more people you hang out with, you're bound to run into a corked bottle at some point. I always make sure that my friends get a swig so that they can at least have some sort of baseline to what a corked wine tastes/smells like.
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