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cork and winery taint

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Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Cork Quality Is on the Rise

Wine Spectator's Napa office finds fewer TCA-tainted bottles in 2011

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.

Mar. 31, 2011 Issue  :  News

Does Your Wine Smell Funky? TCA May Not Be to Blame

Posted: March 31, 2011  By Stephanie Cain, Ben O'Donnell

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

If I find a bottle to be "corky," should I then avoid the wine, winemaker or vintage in the future?

Posted: January 28, 2011  

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Corked Wines in Decline

Last year the incidence of tainted wines dropped to less than 5 percent

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.

News & Features  :  News

Are French Barrels Corking Your Wine?

Study finds significant levels of TCA in barrels; French Federation of Coopers calls foul and alleges conflict of interest

Posted: October 6, 2010  By Ben O'Donnell

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Cork Taint Is Sadly Still With Us

7 percent of wines tasted in our Napa office were corked

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.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

When the Cork Goes Bad on Long-Cellared Wine

Must we write it off as our loss, and not the winery’s?

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?

News & Features  :  News

Report Claims Less Than 1 Percent of Corks Are Noticeably Tainted

Survey pleases the cork industry, but others dispute the findings

Posted: August 20, 2009  By Stuart Fox

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Cork Taint Gone? Don't Bet On It

Producer claims TCA no longer an issue

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Reacquainted With a Great Napa Cabernet

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.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

Rearing Its Ugly Head Again: Another Cork Taint Episode

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.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Does Plastic Wrap Rescue a Corky Wine?

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.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Levels of Corkiness

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Bad Corks? They're Still With Us

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.

Blogs  :  James Suckling Uncorked

Reliving a TCA Moment

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.

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Final Thoughts on Cork Taint

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.

Blogs  :  On Tour with Maynard James Keenan

Sure, Screw Caps Are Fine—But on My Wines?

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.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

A Couple Sit-Downs with Francisco Baettig and Adolfo Hurtado

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.

Oct. 15, 2007 Issue  :  News

Grand Award Winner Has New Machine to Detect Cork Taint

Posted: October 15, 2007  By James Molesworth

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

When One Cork Fails Twice

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.

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