Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

TCA will be the death of me... or make me a teetotaler!!

Posted by napagirl68, Jul 3, 2013.

What is it with me and TCA???   A few days ago, I opened up a solid winner, of which I had a case.  All have been fine so far, but then cork taint reared it's ugly head.  OK, it happens.  Well, tonight I opened  a different wine from the same winery- faint TCA, but enough to throw the wine off.  This was a $38 bottle of pinot, nonetheless.   I have had lots of wine from this winery, and did have one with cork taint about 1.5yrs ago.  What's up with this?  I read some data online that states that cork taint is now a "non-issue" in the US- that it amounts to only 0.08-1.0% of all wines, regardless of age. I do not think cork taint is a thing of the past at all.  Maybe I am a 1%-er!!

Here's is something I have noticed:  Going from best memory here- with the exception of one bottle of Chinon several years ago, all of the TCA tainted wines I have had the misfortune of tasting have been from smaller, boutique type of wineries who tend to make several types of wine (vs just focusing on a few).  Now I don't know what the implication is of this, but it is what I've experienced.  Perhaps it is only demographics- I tend to drink a lot of wine from smaller wineries... IDK.  But I do know that given simple math,  I am far above that 1% number!   And they do tend to come in streaks, that's for sure. Tonight I am angry, and ready to give up on wine.  I refuse to open anything else because I am afraid of what I will find!

 

Replies

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 4, 2013.

Grumpy cat!

Sorry about your luck with TCA...the odds (or wine gods if you will) remain kind to me, only one corked bottle out of many hundreds so far.

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Reply by outthere, Jul 4, 2013.

OK NG, it's going to be alright. Just send me the rest of your wines and I'll inspect them all for cork taint.

Sh!+ happens. Contact the winery and they will replace the bottles.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jul 4, 2013.

Sh!+ happens. Contact the winery and they will replace the bottle.

you mean "bottles".  


 
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Reply by outthere, Jul 4, 2013.

Just like I said. ;)

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Reply by gregt, Jul 4, 2013.

This was a $38 bottle of pinot

And you found TCA?  

How could you tell?

In any event, it's definitely NOT a non-issue, it's still a big issue. Reason one is that you can get TCA from sources other than cork. But reason two is that you still get it from cork.

I don't know if smaller wineries have the problem more often or not. Just anecdotally, I can say that some of the bigger wineries are just better able to deal with it.  BV, Montelena, Vega SIcilia and wineries in Bordeaux and elsewhere each spent millions of dollars to clean their wineries and institute precautions. VS sends their corks to a lab in Bordeaux for testing and if they don't get perfect results, they reject the entire lot of corks. And they have the purchasing power to demand top quality corks.

Smaller wineries can do their own thing though - some in CA take a few handfuls of corks and throw them into a bucket of water or wine and let them sit for a couple days. If they detect any TCA, they reject the entire lot as well. Not foolproof but it helps. 

Unfortunately, some of the smaller wineries also tend to go into denial. I know a few producers who insist that there's nothing wrong and I feel really bad for them if they have problems in the winery and don't have the millions or thousands to clean it, but it's one of the risks of the business. 

Anyhow, I was thinking about what to have for today, since it's the Fourth, and I decided to avoid cork taint altogether - I'm having margaritas. My version. Got the last strawberries of the season and they're somewhat less than perfect, so I cut them up, doused them with sugar and Grand Marnier and put them in the freezer for frozen drinks tonight. 

Cheers!

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Reply by EMark, Jul 4, 2013.

Not to be flippant, NG, but can you try a test of screwcap bottlings?  I know this does not address the possibility of TCA taint from winery cleanliness, but it does, certainly, reduce the liklihood of a bad bottle.  Heck when I order a restaurant wine and see that it has a screwcap, I don't even bother tasting it.  I just tell the server to pour.

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Reply by outthere, Jul 4, 2013.

Nothing more American than the Margarita eh Greg? ;)

We're grilling burgers so I bought some beer but also have my sights on a Syrah. Have an '08 Donelan Cuvée Christine that needs to be popped. Hoping it's free of TCA.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jul 4, 2013.

So I've been reading up a bit online about TCA, and their seems to be a theory going on about the barrel being the problem in some cases.  But wouldn't all the wine from that barrel be tainted??  The first wine I had this week that was tainted was of a 2 barrel production- ~50cases only.  I would think that would be a major issue having half your wine tainted!!

I still blame the cork in most cases (really all cases, but if I say that, someone will come along and tell me to never say never.)

EMark- I have NEVER, EVER had a TCA tainted wine from a non-cork closure.  I think my experience of drinking wine over the last 20yrs or so constitutes your test.   I would happily, joyfully switch to pinots with a screwcap if any of the producers I like would use a damned screwcap!!  If one of you knows of an awesome pinot from sonoma coast or SCM with a screw cap, then by all means, TELL ME!  

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Reply by gregt, Jul 5, 2013.

You are right - a 2 barrel production will result in 1/2 of the wines being tainted. But yeah, it can be in barrels, pallets, etc. That was the case with the wineries I mentioned, as well as with some in Bordeaux and elsewhere.

But of course, all those wines were sealed with corks.

I've had exactly 2 wines in my life that were not sealed with cork and that had TCA. So based on that limited experience, while I don't know where most of the TCA comes from, it's been overwhelmingly associated with wines that are closed with corks. And, since it's so random - i.e. other bottles from the same winery are just fine, I'd say it's mostly a result of the corks too.

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Reply by napagirl68, Jul 6, 2013.

I've had exactly 2 wines in my life that were not sealed with cork and that had TCA. So based on that limited experience, while I don't know where most of the TCA comes from, it's been overwhelmingly associated with wines that are closed with corks. And, since it's so random - i.e. other bottles from the same winery are just fine, I'd say it's mostly a result of the corks too.

EXACTLY.  Thanks, GregT, you summed that up very succinctly.


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