Corked wines on the decline?
The 2010 ‘world championship of wine’, the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, has added further weight to evidence of a dramatic decline in cork-related wine faults.
Of almost 7,000 bottles from more than 50 countries opened at the prestigious event, only one per cent were identified as being affected by 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). This figure is consistent with findings from several recent wine events that have shown the incidence of cork related taint to be either at or less than one per cent.
TCA contamination usually comes from corks but can also come from barrels, other cooperage or even, apparently, from wood within the cellar including walls or beams. The term 'corked wine' is applied to all wines with TCA contamination because corks are the source of most of the problems. The wine industry estimates that as many as 3% to 7% of all wines have TCA contamination at levels that can be detected by consumers. Because most people are not trained to recognize the smell and taste of TCA, only a very small fraction of these bad bottles are ever returned to stores or sent back at a restaurant.
A great deal of work continues in the cork industry as well as at wineries to develop methods to eliminate corked wine.