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Corking

Name for the wine defect Cork taster; see there.

Designation (also corker, cork taste, corkcton) for a dreaded wine defect. In Austria this is also colloquially described as "the wine stops" (stubble = cork). It manifests itself by a musty, musty and chemical smell of wet, rotting wood or leather. The smell is sometimes also described as earthy, in which the alcohol type geosmin is involved. The taste is unpleasantly bitter and astringent. Often, however, the fault can only be perceived by smell. A typical characteristic is a lack of fruitiness or a partially or completely covered varietal typicity of the wine.

Korkschmecker - Glas mit Korken und TCA-Molekül

The unpleasant aftertaste lasts for a long time. At a higher wine temperature the sympthoms become even more apparent. With red wine the perception threshold is somewhat higher due to the covering tannins, here the fault is possibly not perceived as strongly. The main cause of the "real cork taster" is the chemical substance trichloroanisole (TCA), the exact chemical name is 2,4,6-trichloroanisole. This was first proven in 1981 by Prof. H. Tanner at the Swiss Federal Research Institute in Wädenswil (Switzerland). This substance is produced by microbial methylation of trichlorophenol (TCP). This means that TCP is converted into TCA by microorganisms such as moulds. In Australia, the substance methoxy-dimethylpyrazine was isolated in 2004, which is regarded as the second cause.

Causes

Although TCA usually enters the wine via the cork, it is by no means cork specific. Instead, the starting material TCP can come from many sources, which makes it difficult to determine the cause. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why the cork problem is trivialised or, in the worst case, regarded as insignificant. In the 1990s it...

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