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Popular term (also known as Fruit scalping) at the threshold of perception for a weakly developed cork taster; see there.

Term (also corker, cork taste, corkton) for a dreaded wine defect that makes many millions of wine bottles undrinkable every year. In Austria, this is also colloquially described as "der Wein stoppelt" (stoppel = cork). It manifests itself in 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 defect can only be perceived olfactorily. A typical characteristic is a lack of fruitiness or a partially or completely masked varietal typicality of the wine.

Korkschmecker - Glas mit Korken und TCA-Molekül

The unpleasant aftertaste lasts for a long time. At a higher wine temperature, the symptoms become even more pronounced. With red wine, the perception threshold is somewhat higher due to the masking tannins, here the defect may not be perceived as strongly. The main cause of the "real cork taint" is the chemical substance trichloroanisole (TCA), the exact chemical name is 2,4,6-trichloroanisole. This was first detected 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 microorganisms such as moulds convert TCP into TCA. In Australia, the substance methoxy-dimethylpyrazine was isolated in 2004, which is considered to be the second cause.


Although TCA usually enters the wine via the cork, it is by no means cork-specific. The precursor TCP can come from many sources, which makes it difficult to determine the cause. Unfortunately, this also provides the reason for the cork problem to be trivialised or, at worst,...

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Markus J. Eser

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Markus J. Eser
Weinakademiker und Herausgeber „Der Weinkalender“

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