What is corked wine? How will I know if a bottle has gone bad? Is corked wine dangerous to drink?
Once you have tasted or smelled a wine that is corked, it’s distinct wet cardboard odor and taste will not be forgotten. This flaw has nothing to do with the original quality of the wine. Corked wine is safe to drink, although it will be unpleasant.
Wine that is corked has been sealed with a tainted cork. Cork is made from the barks of cork oak trees grown in Portugal, Spain, and North Africa and is subject to microorganisms that can cause wine to turn south. Yet, it is TCA (trichloroanisole, a compound that may form if chlorine bleach is used to sanitize the corks) that is most commonly responsible for corked wine. As much as 10 percent of all wines with corks made from natural wood bark are ruined by TCA. The good news is a growing trend in the use of Stelvin screw cap enclosures. They may not be as romantic as cork, but, then again, there’s little romance in a ruined bottle of fine wine.