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We found this article in Tip Hero although the original was in the Los Angeles Times. It is a must read for anybody who has ever opened a bottle of wine and discovered it is corked. In all honesty, we haven't had a chance to test it yet, but we find in absolutely fascinating and will surely try it on the next corked bottle.
TCA…Say it “Taint” so!
Tell me if you’ve had this problem. You buy a special bottle of wine – maybe you even spend a little bit more than you normally would – but when you get it home, it’s terrible. It smells like old gym socks, and the taste— ugh, let’s not even talk about the taste. It’s called “cork taint,” and it’s tragic. What’s a disappointed wine drinker to do except pour the bottle down the drain and grab some water instead? Well, how about trying this solution from the Los Angeles Times that promises to restore the wine to its intended glory? It works, it’s easier than you think, and it involves an unexpected tool: Saran Wrap! Yes, Saran Wrap, or any other polyethylene plastic wrap.
1. Ball up some of the plastic wrap and place it in the bottom of pitcher.
2. Pour the wine into the pitcher over the plastic wrap.
3. Swirl the wine around the pitcher for 5 to 10 minutes, making sure that all of the wine is exposed to the plastic wrap. The more tainted the wine tastes, the longer it needs to be exposed to the plastic wrap.
4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 for especially stubborn cases.
5. Do a small taste test. If the taint is gone, decant the wine and enjoy! Be sure to throw that plastic wrap away.
Why It Works
Cork taint occurs because of a mold that can be found in the porous material of corks. This mold reacts with the chlorine-based cleaning compounds used to decontaminate most corks, which then produces a lot of trichloranisole, or TCA. TCA is what gives the wine that terrible, old-gym-sock smell and taste. The polyethylene present in most plastic wraps absorbs TCA the same way a sponge absorbs water, making plastic wrap the perfect solution to soak up the offending substances and save our wine!
Genius! Now THIS kind of chemistry I enjoy. Have you ever run into “cork taint” before? What did you do? Do you think you’ll give this method a try?
The article below is courtesy of Karen MacNeil in The Tasting Panel, November 2014. These are great ideas and thoughts about describing wine and why it's so difficult. No one's palate is the same, and no one's past experiences that can be used to describe wine are exactly the same. What do you think? What are your thoughts of Ms. MacNeil's ideas?
"You Know What It Tastes Like...But You Just Can't Say It"
The intersection between taste and language is muddily complex. As we've all experienced, ten people tasting the same wine will come up with ten different descriptions. This wine smells like puppy's breath...It's like the musty aroma of old women sitting in wooden church pews...The lacy negligee character is mind-blowing. (All of these are actual quotes. The single wine in question was a Pinot Noir).
So what's going on here? Why is taste so hard to pin down? And so hard to agree on? Moreover, why do we so often have the feeling that while we know exactly what we think of wine--long a topic of scientific pursuit--has always been hampered by one simplest fact: There is no accurate, reliable language to describe wine.
Interestingly, language does describe other things quite well. Linguists point out, for example, that we do have fairly accurate words to describe shape, size, color and spatial relationships. If I say that in front of me there's a blue square plate six inches by six inches, and on it is sitting a scoop of lemon sherbet about two inches in diameter and that one inch from the sherbet are three small 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes of pineapple, you can easily and accurately visualize the dessert even if you never actually see it.
But wine? It's another story. That's because wine is not its own inherent languate and food is. To say that a strawberry tastes strawberry-ish is sufficient. But, for most of us, to say that a Verdejo tastes like a Verdejo isn't exactly helpful.
Faced with the lack of a universal, well-understood language to describe wine flavor, it's not surprisingly that wine and beverage pros invented their own. Metaphor is king. A wine can be like almost anything from a cathedral to a cowboy boot. Of course, you might find some descriptions a bit over-the-top (it's a precocious little wine and its femininity is alluring...). But the truth is that these creative, if idiosyncratic, attempts to describe wine do carry some meaning that can orient the taster. Most people for example, know what's meant when a wine is described as soft. Describing the wine as "soft as flannel pajamas" is just going one step further in the attempt to talk to each other about a beverage we love.