Question from Ben: What is corked wine and how can I tell if a wine is corked?
In a nut shell – You won’t be able to smell or taste any fresh fruitiness and if it’s really bad the smell will be musty and might remind you of a wet dog.
In a clam shell – It doesn’t matter how expensive or how cheap the wine, no bottle sealed with a cork is immune from the dreaded taint! The cork stopper is responsible so if it’s under screw cap you’re in the clear.
The worst part? It can only be detected when the bottle of wine has been opened and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. What a waste of money hey?!? Annoying!
There are several chemical compounds found in the cork that can taint the wine. At low levels, cork taint will strip the wine of its fresh, fruity deliciousness and at worst the wine will smell musty and like your pup after a dip in the ocean. But it’s totally harmless so you can go ahead and drink a bottle of corked wine if that’s your thing.
It’s okay, most people would struggle to identify a corked wine too. You may have drunk a corked wine (at least you didn’t totally waste your money) and if you enjoyed it or didn’t notice that’s perfectly fine. Ignorance is bliss! Corked wine is rare but because your average wine drinker probably won’t pick it up (unless it’s really bad) it’s impossible to tell how much corked wine is out there but for argument sake, let’s say 5% of wines are corked.
If you’re in a restaurant and you’re unsure go with your gut. If it was a reasonably priced bottle but tastes dull and lifeless ask the sommelier to check it for cork taint. If he/she says it’s perfectly fine then you’ve probably just picked an average bottle. You’re going to have to suck it up and drink it. Sorry, not all bad wine is corked.