Can You Take the 'Corkiness' Out of a 'Corked' Wine?

      Nothing is more disappointing than opening a bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion, only to discover that it is “corked.”

     The evidence of a corked bottle does not take a trained “nose.” If you’re familiar with the “aroma” of old gym socks or wet cardboard, you can detect a “corked” bottle of wine. What you’re actually smelling is trichloranisole, or TCA.

     In the past, there has been only one thing to do with a corked bottle of wine: pour it down the sink. (Okay, you might also consider throwing it against the wall in despair, but then you’d have a real mess on your hands… and still no drinkable wine.)

     But according to Brian Smith, president of a company called Vinovation that is experimenting with a variety of possible “cures” for “corked” wine, bottles with relatively minor cork taint may be salvageable.

     Here’s how: Tear off a 1-foot-square piece of Saran Wrap (or other polyethylene wrap), wad it up, and place it in a glass pitcher. Then pour the tainted wine over the wrap. For the next 10 minutes or so, gently swirl the wine in the pitcher so it’s completely exposed to the plastic wrap.

     If this doesn’t get the unwanted smell out of the wine, repeat the process with a fresh piece of Saran Wrap. Then pour the wine into another container.

     According to Smith, polyethylene absorbs TCA like a sponge. We’ve tried it with a few store-bought bottles that turned out to be “corked,” with positive results.

     Until all bottles are topped with screw caps – unromantic thought they may be – this process offers a viable solution to the occasional “corked” wine.

     (Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in The Grapevine, official newsletter of Vinesse.)


Posted in Wine in the Glass
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