What Is Cork Taint?
By Jen Pfeiffer
A corked wine is often described as having a mouldy or musty character; like sweaty socks, mattress money or wet cardboard. The nose of the wine is dulled by cork taint, and the musty flavour is detectable on the palate. It occurs in varying degrees, but in the worst cases, the wine can be rendered undrinkable.
Cork taint, or TCA (2,4,6 trichloroanisole) is created when chlorine (from the contamination of forest soil) comes into contact with moulds that form in the cork oak trees. The whole tree, including the bark, is affected, leading to a contaminated cork. Cork taint immediately affects the wine, as soon as the wine comes into contact with the cork.
Corks are not the only victims here – potatoes, carrots and timber can all suffer from “cork taint” or TCA, through the chlorine uptake in soil. Have you ever sat down to a nice roast to find that one of your potatoes doesn’t quite taste right, it’s a little musty perhaps? Well, don’t be surprised if that TCA is the culprit again!!