Can a sparkling wine be “corked”?

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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

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