Can a sparkling wine be “corked”?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it possible for a sparkling wine to be “corked”?

—Matt, New York

Dear Matt,

Champagne and other sparkling wines are unfortunately susceptible to TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole), the chemical compound responsible for most of the stinky notes of damp cellars and wet dogs in wines that we refer to as “corked.” TCA can originate from corks or other forms of wood that a wine comes in contact with.

The subject of corked bubblies doesn't come up much, and I suspect that’s because most people don’t drink as much bubbly as they do still wine. Since I find myself drinking more and more sparkling wine as I get older, you can say I’ve been doing some “unofficial research” on this topic, and I’ve certainly had my share of TCA-tainted sparkling wines.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Sparkling Wines TCA Wine Flaws

More In Dr. Vinny

Why are wines from volcanic soils so good?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why certain soil types encourage desirable …

Aug 21, 2019

Why do we pair white wine with fish and red wine with red meat?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers some tips on making a food and wine match sing.

Aug 19, 2019

How can I preserve an intentionally wine-stained shirt?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of using red wine as a fabric …

Aug 16, 2019

What exactly does it mean that a wine can express "terroir"? Is it a smell? A taste?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the elusive concept and expression of terroir.

Aug 14, 2019

What is the ideal "total acidity" for Cabernet Sauvignon?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains total acidity, and how it interacts with other …

Aug 12, 2019

Are some wines better-suited to being canned than others?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains which wine styles have been most successful in …

Aug 9, 2019




Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search