TCA question

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TCA question

Postby Florida Jim » Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:25 am

I opened a magnum of 1997 Jaboulet, La Chapelle, several days ago. As the cork was coming out, I turned the corkscrew incorrectly and partially broke the cork. The immediate smell of TCA was noticeable. When I got it all the way out, I smelled the bottom (the part in contact with the wine) and it smelled strongly of TCA. I certainly anticipated that the wine would be corked.

But both Diane and I tried the wine (she is very sensitive to cork taint) and neither of us could find any sign of TCA. Still, it worried me, as every other time I have had a question about the smell of the cork, the wine has been tainted. So I put a stopper in the bottle (not made of cork) and put it back on the shelf (room temp.).

The following evening (24 hours later) still no sign of cork taint. The wine tastes as it always has (I have had this wine many times since release) and it shows young but not muted or disjointed in any fashion.

The next evening (48 hours since opening) we had another glass and still no taint. Rather the wine has smoothed out and is showing less young (but still not anywhere near peak) than it did last night.

This is a unique experience for me, as I can always tell TCA by smelling the freshly pulled cork. And any time I have had a question but have been unable to definitely state that a wine was corked, leaving it for a day brings the taint to the fore.

Anybody else ever run into an occasion where the cork smelled strongly of taint but the wine was perfectly sound?

Best, Jim
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Re: TCA question

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:29 am

Never in my experience Jim. I'm very sensitive to corkiness, and sometimes have had the reverse experience -- no corkiness in the cork but corkiness in the wine.

I've never read or heard any other report of your experience. You might ask Lisa Allen -- she is extraordinarily sensitive to corkiness and often throws the flag in NYC tastings.

Regards, Bob
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Re: TCA question

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:20 am

Florida Jim wrote:Anybody else ever run into an occasion where the cork smelled strongly of taint but the wine was perfectly sound?

I've run into this very rarely, Jim ... once or twice ever. I can't really explain it, either, although I've speculated that there might have been a pocket of TCA-precursor fungal contamination at one end of the cork that didn't reach the end in contact with the wine. Seems unlikely, but the experience left me as puzzled as you are.
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Re: TCA question

Postby Thomas » Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:38 am

I've had it happen, and I have chalked it up to the cork being influenced either by just having been stored and gotten musty and moldy or by contact with the case box in damp storage (wet cardboard smells like TCA; in fact, I use it as a sample of the smell in my classes when I can't come up with a tainted bottle that week).

What should happen, if either of the above is the culprit, is when the cork dries after having been pulled, the smell would dissipate. If that does not happen, then I have no idea what's going on...
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