Check out the new, mobile-friendly WineSpectator.com!
Posted: January 12, 2012 By James Laube
The quality of corks appears to be taking a turn for the better. For the second year in a row, we encountered fewer "corked" bottles in blind tastings in Wine Spectator's Napa office than we did in the previous year. When we taste blind, we keep track of wines we think have cork taint, marking down any bottles that show the musty, moldy flavor often caused by 2,4,6-trichloranisole in the cork. This isn't a scientific analysis; we don't test every wine for TCA. But when we retaste a second bottle of the suspect wine, we usually find that the wine itself was sound. In 2011, out of roughly 3,400 bottles of California wine topped with cork, the percentage of "corked" wines dropped to 3.8 from 4.8 in 2010-the best year since we started tracking this. In 2009, nearly 7 percent of the wines were corked, and in 2007, it was 9.5 percent. An 8 percent rate would be equivalent to nearly one bottle a case, which is horrible.
Posted: January 28, 2011
Posted: January 10, 2011 By James Laube
Cork producers insist their products are improving, resulting in fewer "corked" wines. Based on our tastings in our Napa office last year, they are correct. 2010 was the best year for corks since we began tracking them in 2005, the year of the great cork debate.
Posted: October 6, 2010 By Ben O'Donnell
Posted: January 4, 2010 By James Laube
Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube reports that TCA taint is still with us, heading into 2010, and cork producers’ claims that the problem has been solved and TCA taint is gone are highly debatable.
Posted: December 14, 2009 By Harvey Steiman
After opening a well-aged wine with a tainted cork, Wine Spectator editor at large Harvey Steiman asks how much incentive do top wineries really have to switch to something other than cork?
Posted: August 20, 2009 By Stuart Fox
Posted: August 17, 2009 By James Laube
First, the recession ended. Now TCA is gone from corks. File both of these claims in the same category. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Maybe cork producers' claims that TCA (2,4,6 trichloranisole) taint in corks has all but vanished is true, but it's the world's largest producer of natural cork closures making the claim and touting it as news.
Posted: April 27, 2009 By James Laube
David Long got straight to the point. "We took our eye off the ball," said the owner of David Arthur Vineyards today when discussing the mostly ups but also a few big downs with his Napa Valley wines. I was perplexed by my experiences with Long's flagship wine, the Elevation 1147 (which refers to the elevation where the grapes are grown on Pritchard Hill), and the 1997 vintage in particular.
Posted: March 23, 2009 By James Molesworth
Cork taint is not a fun issue for the wine industry to deal with. Cork producers have their business threatened by it. For wineries, the product they've worked hard to get from vine to bottle is threatened by it.
Posted: March 6, 2009 By Harvey Steiman
Having at last encountered an unambiguously corky bottle in one of my blind wine tastings, and a sound replacement bottle to compare with it, I finally had a chance to put the plastic wrap theory to the test.
Posted: January 21, 2009 By Harvey Steiman
Obviously my colleague James Suckling struck a nerve with his blog describing how a sommelier fumbled a corked-bottle issue at a Las Vegas restaurant. At last check the comment count has topped 70. Several postings seem to suggest that it’s easy to tell if a wine is corked.
Posted: January 6, 2009 By James Laube
There are days in our tasting room in Napa when we think the cork jinx might be broken, and by cork jinx, of course, I mean TCA-tainted corks. We'll go through a flight or two of wines and there won't be any spoiled wines.
Posted: June 24, 2008 By James Suckling
I had a 1989 Ducru-Beaucaillou last week for dinner with a friend, and it wasn’t very good. I had asked her to go down to my cellar and pick out something to drink and she came up with the bottle of the 1989 Ducru.
Posted: April 21, 2008 By James Laube
Cork taint can be a can of worms. Several readers have accurately addressed most of the questions posed here since Friday's blog entry, " Corks Worse Problem as Price Increases." Daniel points out that Wine Spectator has covered cork-related issues extensively, not only in the context of TCA-infected corks, but also about instances of entire wineries having been affected.
Posted: February 4, 2008 By Maynard James Keenan
I realize this subject has been done to death, but I thought I'd try it on and see how it fits. The subject is screw caps, synthetic corks and TCA. Personally I don't mind synthetic corks or screw caps on wine that I plan on plowing through at the speed of light.
Posted: January 17, 2008 By James Molesworth
I sat down with two different Chilean winemakers over the last week—Francisco Baettig of Viña Errázuriz and Adolfo Hurtado of Viña Cono Sur , both of whom have interesting stories to tell. Cleaning up at Errázuriz For Baettig, his story has been one of overcoming hurdles.
Posted: October 15, 2007 By James Molesworth
Posted: August 16, 2007 By James Laube
Yesterday, amid a nightmarish run of bad corks in a flight of 1997 Napa Valley Cabernets we were tasting in the office, we coined what, for us, is a new phrase to describe an odd malady—a wine that’s "double-corked.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered