You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around. I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus - Wine Words Demystified!
This week’s word is Corked…
A term used to describe a wine that smells like a wet dog in a basement or, sometimes, like wet cardboard. Wines become corked or corky when certain bacteria in the cork cells interact with minute amount of chemical residues that many remain in corks or wine bottles after they are cleaned. A corked wine has a defective aroma and flavor, although it will not harm the drinker. Corked wine cannot be predicted. Any wine regardless of its quality or price can be corky.
I had recently had my first corked wine. Scratch that…I had my first two corked wines. There were both from the same producer, and both Petite Sirah, one from the 2005 vintage and one from the 2006 vintage. While it was pretty disappointing, I actually felt fortunate to not have had a corked wine up to that point. Estimates on what percentage of wines vary, but mostly I’ve seen between 1%-7%. Given how much wine we drink, and this was our first, I’m surprised it hadn’t happened sooner.
Of course corked wines can be avoided altogether if a screwcap, or other non-cork closure had been used. Have you have any corked wines? How often has it happened to you? Did it influence your opinion of screwcap vs. corks?