Sending the wine back

Have you ever tasted a wine and felt that it just didn’t taste right? Sometimes wine flaws are fairly obvious, but occasionally you’ll encounter a bottle with a less obvious flaw. Should you keep drinking and see if it improves, or should you ask for a replacement?

Cork taint

Cork taint, can you recognise it?
Cork taint, can you recognise it?

Estimates on the proportion of bottles affected by cork taint vary from around 1 in 7 to 1 in 12. Of course, we can’t be certain – many people that encounter a corked bottle will not recognise it as such, and so rather than asking for a replacement, they will make a mental note that the wine is bad and ensure that they never buy it again. Cork taint is caused by bacteria in the cork, and is characterised by a musty ‘wet wool’ smell. It can be pungent and overpower the wine, or it can be relatively gentle and quite difficult to detect at first. Once the bottle has been opened the corked wine will deteriorate, so a bottle that you are unsure about initially might reveal itself to be tainted after a short period. Continue reading