What is cork taint? What is “Corked wine?
You may hear about “corked wine”, contrary to what it sounds like, it is not referring to a wine that has been sealed with a cork. “Corked wine” is actually one of the classified “wine faults”. It is also known as “cork taint”.
Cork taint is caused by the presence of a chemical compound called TCA. TCA forms when a naturally occurring airborne fungus comes into contact with certain chlorides that are found in winery sanitation/sterilization products, such as bleach, while in contact with the cork.
You can tell if a wine is “corked” (or infected by cork taint) based upon the smell and taste. A wine with cork taint will smell similar to wet cardboard, wet dog, or a musty basement. The wine will taste flat or dull with no fruit notes.
It used to be possible for a winery to remove the TCA from the wine, however, it’s virtually impossible now that the makeup of plastic wrap has changed industry-wide. Before plastic wrap was changed, you used to be able to soak the wine in a vat with plastic wrap to remove the TCA. The TCA would bond to the plastic and leave the wine; the wine would then be drained from the vat, leaving the plastic wrap behind in the vat.
There is no easy fix from a consumer’s standpoint for cork taint. Your best bet is to return the wine to the place of purchase and get a new bottle.
Defective means it’s flawed or corked…”