Wine Bores and the Great Cork Taint Conspiracy

was having dinner the other night with a winery rep and another wine
writer when I ventured the opinion that not only are natural corks
better today than they were just a few years ago, but that the cork
taint problem had been overstated. Fifty percent? Fifteen percent? Even
five or ten percent was higher than my experience suggested, I said.


maybe you just can€™t detect TCA,€ my wine writing €œcolleague€
smirked, referring to the chemical compound that causes cork taint.


BAM! Down for the count! I had stepped in front of an oncoming
locomotive, grabbed the third rail, whatever corny metaphor you want to
use. I stammered that of course I can detect TCA, but it was no use. I
had set myself up, and had no choice but to swallow hard and nurse my
humiliation through the rest of the meal.

here€™s the rub: Any self-respecting wine bore (is there any other
kind?) believes he is expert at detecting minute amounts of cork taint.
There is an incentive to exaggerate the problem because no one wants to be vulnerable to the €œyou can€™t detect TCA€ insult.


not saying cork taint doesn€™t exist. I€™m merely suggesting that
oenomachismo, the dark side of wine appreciation, may lead poseurs to
overstate it in order to €œprove€ their wine tasting prowess and
their own vinous superiority.

And well, I guess I€™m saying, don€™t have dinner with wine writers. They€™re such bores.


tasted seven wines with dinner. All had been sealed with natural cork,
with nary a trace of cork taint. Yet somehow, they all tasted off to me.
Perhaps nothing pairs well with bile.

This entry was posted in Cork Taint, writers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wine Bores and the Great Cork Taint Conspiracy

  1. fotorules says:

    I believe that every wine fault has been rolled up into corked bottle
    detection … bad wine, poorly stored wine, bottle variation, mood of
    the drinker. I remember one wine judging event when the judges sent back
    the bottle as corked and the winery had used a synthetic stopper. It is
    easy to have one evil cause of all problems. And yes, there is the
    occasional corked bottle.

  2. Good point, fotorules. Cork taint is the most prominent fault, and
    perhaps the easiest to detect, despite what my colleague said at dinner
    the other night. After all, who hasn’t smelled a moldy basement at some
    point in life?
    As for wine judges – of course, bottles can be rejected for any number
    of reasons, and it is still possible for a wine with a synthetic closure
    to have TCA. At a recent competition I judged, my table of five judges
    unanimously rejected both bottles of an entry three separate times. I
    later learned that all three entries were from the same winery. That
    place definitely has a problem.
    Dave Mc

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