Cork Taint aka TCA


TCA is an acronym for the chemical compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole also known as Cork Taint.

It is a molecule that humans can detect in parts per billion and we don’t like it. Some postulate it is the molecule we can detect at the lowest level.

Sensitivity varies by a couple of orders of magnitude among people. A hundredfold or more difference in detection.

It’s not unique to corks. It’s a metabolite of fungus when there are H2O, chlorine molecules, cellulose, and lignin. Paper, wood, corks, for example, and some moisture.

A regular wood cork will, in my experience, have cork taint 8% of the time. One bottle per case. Not usually a real stinker, but enough to mute the wine. It can make a great wine into substandard, or total yuck (think sweaty gym socks).

Some people are very sensitive to cork taint and some people cannot distinguish it at all and the wine tastes fine to them. I’d rather be in the latter category but unfortunately, both Paul and I are in the former. My dad was in the latter and never had to taste cork taint in his wine!

Paul gave up wood corks in 1992 after having a lot of bottles of a great Chenin Blanc being ruined by cork taint.

Cork suppliers “guarantee” their corks. If you think you have a tainted bottle, you send it to them, if their lab confirms some level (their choice) they pay for the one bottle. Ha, ha, ha!

We only use plastic corks or screw caps and consequently have never had a corked wine.

Nothing worse than saving a wine for that special occasion and upon opening it to discover it is undrinkable. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on any and everything we sell.



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