Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

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Brian G r a f s t r o m
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#51 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

I make note of corked bottles in CT. My tasting note will simply be "TCA", and I do that because CT marks them as "Flawed," and there are other types of flaws beyond TCA.

I've recently started indicating in my "TCA" tasting note that the winery replaced the bottle if, in fact, they did. I've always been on the fence about that -- not knowing if wineries like that kind of public acknowledgement, or if they don't (for fear it will inspire others to cheat the system, so to speak). My conclusion on that quandary recently changed --- I would love to hear from winery owners if they like, or dislike, that type of public acknowledgement so I can adjust accordingly.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#52 Post by AndrewH »

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:48 pm ...

[*]2014 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre (7/4/2017)
The flaw was I thought I bought a white 3 months ago but when I opened it I found it was rouge! Instead of deleting this and creating a new entry figured I'd leave a PSA to those not familiar with Sancerre rouge: Pinot Noir from here can be earthy, tasty stuff. Try it. NR (flawed)

...
Interesting use of flawed!

I'd have to concede that might not be due a refund . . .
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#53 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s »

AndrewH wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:27 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:48 pm ...

[*]2014 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre (7/4/2017)
The flaw was I thought I bought a white 3 months ago but when I opened it I found it was rouge! Instead of deleting this and creating a new entry figured I'd leave a PSA to those not familiar with Sancerre rouge: Pinot Noir from here can be earthy, tasty stuff. Try it. NR (flawed)

...
Interesting use of flawed!

I'd have to concede that might not be due a refund . . .
Best flawed bottle I ever drank!
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#54 Post by Rodrigo B »

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:33 pm
AndrewH wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:27 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:48 pm ...

[*]2014 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre (7/4/2017)
The flaw was I thought I bought a white 3 months ago but when I opened it I found it was rouge! Instead of deleting this and creating a new entry figured I'd leave a PSA to those not familiar with Sancerre rouge: Pinot Noir from here can be earthy, tasty stuff. Try it. NR (flawed)

...
Interesting use of flawed!

I'd have to concede that might not be due a refund . . .
Best flawed bottle I ever drank!
Tangentially related story:
Ordered some still PN BdN to be delivered to my offsite. Got a call from a confused and worried worker inventorying the wines concerned that the wine I ordered was accidentally mislabelled/misbottled as the label noted PN, but the wine was clearly white. Had to explain to them that they were indeed correct.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#55 Post by Marshall Manning »

John Glas wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:18 pm I would hope the distributor would take it back. They are buying it for the lowest cost. I certainly will not eat the cost of a $50 bottle.
John, in my opinion the ultimate responsibility is with the winery that used the cork (or even cork supplier), but often times it just ends with the distributor, which really isn't fair either. And you wouldn't believe the number of "bad" bottles that get returned to distributors that are just fine but that have to be returned for credit if you want to do business with chains or get restaurant placements.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#56 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

Kudo's for the policy and the communication Michael.

To the others, anyone have a good contact for Krug? I have a defective MV, clear cork problem (no flare to the cork,and highly oxidized) but it wasn't from a recent purchase, so I'd like to contact Krug. The message feature on their website dis not elicit a reply.

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#57 Post by Otto Forsberg »

AndrewH wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 2:27 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:48 pm ...

[*]2014 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre (7/4/2017)
The flaw was I thought I bought a white 3 months ago but when I opened it I found it was rouge! Instead of deleting this and creating a new entry figured I'd leave a PSA to those not familiar with Sancerre rouge: Pinot Noir from here can be earthy, tasty stuff. Try it. NR (flawed)

...
Interesting use of flawed!
Definitely is.

But also wrong use of tasting notes, at least in my books. I think TNs should only be left for wines you've drunk and they should be descriptions of the wine, not where you had it or with whom. You really couldn't find any actual TNs if all the users started to leave pointless memos like this for wines they even have never tasted.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#58 Post by JBucholz »

Marshall Manning wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 4:15 pm And you wouldn't believe the number of "bad" bottles that get returned to distributors that are just fine but that have to be returned for credit if you want to do business with chains or get restaurant placements.
Just curious how you know they’re “just fine.” Do they taste returned bottles?
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#59 Post by Brian Tuite »

Jim Salvito wrote: February 21st, 2021, 1:08 pm A few weeks ago I popped a very high-end Napa cab that was corked with TCA. I contacted the winery and since I didn't purchase directly from them, they deferred replacing it and suggested contacting the retailer. Very disappointing.
Nearly identical thing happened to me with a high end Sonoma County Pinot producer. Dropped from their mailing list and haven’t bought since.

Then last weekend I had an off experience with a bottle of Bedrock. I didn’t call it out as corked because it was extremely mild on TCA mildew and I couldn’t pick it up on the cork itself. Just had everything muted. Based on the note itself Morgan contacted me and said it sounded corked to him and offered up a replacement bottle. Needless to say I probably purchase 8-10 cases of Bedrock a year. The other winery, 0.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#60 Post by Brian Tuite »

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:48 pm This inspired me to look at 11 years of notes to see what I found flawed. Kind of interesting to check back. PS: Rhys and Stony Hill contacted me immediately to replace. flirtysmile
  • 2004 Domaine Huber-Verdereau Volnay Les Robardelles - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay (4/29/2020)
    Ladybugs. Pyrazines. Green meanies. NR (flawed)
  • 2005 Domaine Pierre Guillemot Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Narbantons - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru (2/15/2020)
    corked. NR (flawed)
  • 2011 Stony Hill Chardonnay - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/29/2019)
    Oxidised. Color was visibly off before opening and the wine was lifeless except for the butter/sherry note. Very disappointing as I've had it 2x at the winery with typical Stony Hill notes.
    EDIT: Winery is replacing bottle. NR (flawed)
  • 2007 Domaine La Millière Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Unique Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (11/15/2019)
    Corked. NR (flawed)
  • 2006 Château d'Epiré Savennières Cuvée Spéciale - France, Loire Valley, Anjou-Saumur, Savennières (9/18/2019)
    Hmm, found a bottle in the cellar from a vintage I thought I'd drank up. Hooray! Bottle was oxidised. Boo! Hiss! NR (flawed)
  • 2007 Domaine Francois et Antoine Jobard Meursault En La Barre - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault (6/5/2019)
    Premoxed. NR (flawed)
  • 2010 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de Nalys - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (4/5/2018)
    Boring bretty stuff. Let's just call it flawed. NR (flawed)
  • 2004 Verget Meursault Lieu Interdit - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault (12/23/2017)
    Corked. NR (flawed)
  • 2014 Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Sancerre (7/4/2017)
    The flaw was I thought I bought a white 3 months ago but when I opened it I found it was rouge! Instead of deleting this and creating a new entry figured I'd leave a PSA to those not familiar with Sancerre rouge: Pinot Noir from here can be earthy, tasty stuff. Try it. NR (flawed)
  • 2007 Domaine Monier Perréol St. Joseph Blanc - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (3/19/2017)
    Oxidised,. Otherwise some bitterness and oversweet apricot coming through. I suspect this would probably be rated below average if it was not flawed. NR (flawed)
  • 2005 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc - USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (4/22/2016)
    Oxidised. Came back to it 45 minutes later and confirmed. NR (flawed)
  • 2003 François Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos - France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis Grand Cru (4/13/2016)
    Even with slight cork taint this showed that it's normally a great wine. My only bottle and I think it's better than what the vintage would suggest. NR (flawed)
  • 2002 Domaine Francois et Antoine Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (6/27/2015)
    2nd of 2 Poruzots premoxed. 0 for 2 on 2002 Poruzots with no bottles left. NR (flawed)
  • 2001 Edmunds St. John Syrah Wylie-Fenaughty - USA, California, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County (2/21/2015)
    Corked - arrgh. Became more apparent with time. NR (flawed)
  • 2002 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru En Remilly - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru (10/25/2014)
    Corked. At least it wasn't premoxed! NR (flawed)
  • 2005 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Pouilly-Fumé (9/26/2014)
    Oxidised. Had the brilliant acidity and none of the tropical fruits. A shame. NR (flawed)
  • 2001 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru (3/8/2014)
    6th of 6 bottles. All oxidised. NR (flawed)
  • 2002 Domaine Francois et Antoine Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault 1er Cru (12/26/2013)
    First premoxed Jobard. Definitely premature as they have a reputation for a long, long life. NR (flawed)
  • 2006 A. et P. de Villaine Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise Les Clous - France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise (1/22/2012)
    Premoxed. Arrgh. NR (flawed)
  • 2001 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru (11/1/2011)
    The 5th of 6 bottles. All oxidized. Arrgh. Luckily of all the different bottlings I have of Colin-Deleger only this one has been premoxed. I stopped buying it soon after this vintage. NR (flawed)
  • 2004 Rhys Alesia Syrah Chileno Valley - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (12/31/2009)
    This wine was a bretty poopy mess. Too bad because it seems like there is something interesting beneath the fecal stew. Hope my other two bottles fare better! NR (flawed)
  • 2004 Villa Carafa Aglianico - Italy, Campania, Sannio (12/31/2009)
    Plastic cork and still corked! NR (flawed)
  • 2002 Rapet Père et Fils Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru (11/7/2009)
    Premoxed. Feh! NR (flawed)
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#61 Post by Marshall Manning »

JBucholz wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 6:26 am Just curious how you know they’re “just fine.” Do they taste returned bottles?
I worked in the distribution industry for almost 10 years, and would smell a lot of the wines that were returned just to see how many were actually noticeably flawed. Only about 10% of our returns were actually flawed. Most were just either mediocre wines that were always that way or wines that a customer didn't like.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#62 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Marshall Manning wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 9:03 am
JBucholz wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 6:26 am Just curious how you know they’re “just fine.” Do they taste returned bottles?
I worked in the distribution industry for almost 10 years, and would smell a lot of the wines that were returned just to see how many were actually noticeably flawed. Only about 10% of our returns were actually flawed. Most were just either mediocre wines that were always that way or wines that a customer didn't like.
Based on your experience, Marshall, about what percentage of purchased bottles were returned as (allegedly) defective?
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#63 Post by Andrew Dodd »

Adam G wrote: February 20th, 2021, 4:17 pm I usually think of going back to where I bought the wine if there's an issue with it, not necessarily back to the winery.
Which is interesting. I feel like the wineries are more protective of their reputation and generally happier to replace corked bottles.

I've had more retailers refuse to replace bottles (who have subsequently lost my business).
I'm looking at you Great Grapes of Cary, NC....

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#64 Post by Marshall Manning »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 9:06 am Based on your experience, Marshall, about what percentage of purchased bottles were returned as (allegedly) defective?
It's been 5 years (almost to the day, sadly) since I was in the industry, so I don't remember exact numbers, but it is a very small amount, under 1% for sure. You always see numbers tossed around that 3-5% of all wines are infected with TCA, and if that's accurate then the return rate is actually lower than you would expect. But that is assuming that the general public knows what a corked wine smells like and wants to take the effort of returning it as opposed to thinking they just don't like that wine. I just always thought it was odd that a very high percentage of the returns weren't really defective.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#65 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Thanks, Marshall. "Under 1%" is what I would have guessed, too, if not "significantly under 1%."

Assuming that to be true, it strikes me as a terrible business decision to deny returns of legitimately flawed bottles because a certain percentage of "TCA" returns aren't flawed at all.

I don't doubt you when you say "And you wouldn't believe the number of "bad" bottles that get returned to distributors that are just fine but that have to be returned for credit if you want to do business with chains or get restaurant placements.", but it seems to me if the rate of returns is as low as it is then this is an operating cost that could easily be absorbed someway, somehow.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#66 Post by Marshall Manning »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 11:37 am Thanks, Marshall. "Under 1%" is what I would have guessed, too, if not "significantly under 1%."

Assuming that to be true, it strikes me as a terrible business decision to deny returns of legitimately flawed bottles because a certain percentage of "TCA" returns aren't flawed at all.

I don't doubt you when you say "And you wouldn't believe the number of "bad" bottles that get returned to distributors that are just fine but that have to be returned for credit if you want to do business with chains or get restaurant placements.", but it seems to me if the rate of returns is as low as it is then this is an operating cost that could easily be absorbed someway, somehow.
Oh, you're right about that in terms of being a small percentage. And I believe that people should be able to return bottles that are defective. My only issue is that distributors (who didn't choose the cork nor bottle the defective wine) end up getting stuck with the cost a lot of the time and that many importers and wineries just don't care about it once the wine is sold.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#67 Post by A. Mishaan »

Interesting discussion. For another data point, here's my experience.

On CT I just mark off "flawed" when I consume for my own records. Rarely include a note and never a score.

In terms of "returning," I've never actually returned a bottle to anyone. If it's a bottle I bought directly from a producer, I send off an email and over the years I've gotten credit/replacement with no issue. This has been easy with Carlisle, Anthill, Saxum, Rivers-Marie, off the top of my head. Mike Officer recently responded within minutes. I don't really ship wine, so I'm not sure I'd even know how to actually send it back legally. And for something bought at retail, I usually just don't bother because I'm lazy, and I suspect it would be more hassle than it's worth.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#68 Post by Gabe Berk »

Very gracious of the OP. Flawed closure accounts for 2%-5% of lost product. If the cost increase from cork to a screw cap or DIAM isn't much, I'd go unconventional closure as a vineyard/winery owner. Just me...

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#69 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Marshall Manning wrote: February 24th, 2021, 8:59 am
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 11:37 am Thanks, Marshall. "Under 1%" is what I would have guessed, too, if not "significantly under 1%."

Assuming that to be true, it strikes me as a terrible business decision to deny returns of legitimately flawed bottles because a certain percentage of "TCA" returns aren't flawed at all.

I don't doubt you when you say "And you wouldn't believe the number of "bad" bottles that get returned to distributors that are just fine but that have to be returned for credit if you want to do business with chains or get restaurant placements.", but it seems to me if the rate of returns is as low as it is then this is an operating cost that could easily be absorbed someway, somehow.
Oh, you're right about that in terms of being a small percentage. And I believe that people should be able to return bottles that are defective. My only issue is that distributors (who didn't choose the cork nor bottle the defective wine) end up getting stuck with the cost a lot of the time and that many importers and wineries just don't care about it once the wine is sold.
I hear ya. Seems to (ignorant) me the distributor could either (1). marginally increase their prices to cover this small expense or (2). not work with the offending importers/wineries or (3). just suck it up and deal with it. Distributors are in the chain of commerce, and they choose to traffic in goods known to have a certain fail rate, so I have very little sympathy for them (but more than zero!) --- it's just part of doing this business.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#70 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Gabe Berk wrote: February 24th, 2021, 9:37 am Very gracious of the OP. Flawed closure accounts for 2%-5% of lost product. If the cost increase from cork to a screw cap or DIAM isn't much, I'd go unconventional closure as a vineyard/winery owner. Just me...
Hi Gabe,

A couple questions:
1. did you mean flawed closures account for 2% - 5% of lost product, or 2% - 5% loss of product?
2. How do you know those figures? Are you ITB?
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#71 Post by Gabe Berk »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 24th, 2021, 10:26 am
Gabe Berk wrote: February 24th, 2021, 9:37 am Very gracious of the OP. Flawed closure accounts for 2%-5% of lost product. If the cost increase from cork to a screw cap or DIAM isn't much, I'd go unconventional closure as a vineyard/winery owner. Just me...
Hi Gabe,

A couple questions:
1. did you mean flawed closures account for 2% - 5% of lost product, or 2% - 5% loss of product?
2. How do you know those figures? Are you ITB?
2% - 5% of wine is destroyed due to flawed closure (bad corks leading to undesirable/undrinkable taste). Just an average, some more, some less.

Been ITB before and my family is ITB.

If I farmed my vineyard, harvested, crushed, barreled and bottled my wine for as many thousands of dollars I paid to due so, I personally would use screw cap or DIAM as the closure. Especially if the overall bottle cost is within reason vs. cork closure. Luckily, I'm just a consumer, but can tell you its a bummer when the cork ruins all the hard work and time put inside the bottle when unconventional closure almost assuredly would prevent such situation.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#72 Post by Marshall Manning »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 24th, 2021, 10:24 am I hear ya. Seems to (ignorant) me the distributor could either (1). marginally increase their prices to cover this small expense or (2). not work with the offending importers/wineries or (3). just suck it up and deal with it. Distributors are in the chain of commerce, and they choose to traffic in goods known to have a certain fail rate, so I have very little sympathy for them (but more than zero!) --- it's just part of doing this business.
Oh, they often do a combination, but usually #3. It's just a pain in the butt for them, that's all, especially smaller distributors who don't have the power of the big boys. And I'm sure policies differ greatly among them regarding returns and how long they will accept them, etc. But if people have issues with returning wines at retail (especially ones that are a few years old), it may be because the distributor won't give the retailer credit and the retailer doesn't want to eat the cost.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#73 Post by PaulMills »

Michael,
I have had about 12 bottles of FB that had TCA, please ship me a replacement case ASAP. [snort.gif]

Obviously just kidding, every bottle we have ever opened has been fabulous. We were so happy to hoist you and Ally for a tasting when you were getting started. As I pair down my cellar some and get rid of wines that do not suit my palate anymore, I hope to be able to buy more like yours.

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#74 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

Gabe Berk wrote: February 24th, 2021, 11:46 am
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: February 24th, 2021, 10:26 am
Gabe Berk wrote: February 24th, 2021, 9:37 am Very gracious of the OP. Flawed closure accounts for 2%-5% of lost product. If the cost increase from cork to a screw cap or DIAM isn't much, I'd go unconventional closure as a vineyard/winery owner. Just me...
Hi Gabe,

A couple questions:
1. did you mean flawed closures account for 2% - 5% of lost product, or 2% - 5% loss of product?
2. How do you know those figures? Are you ITB?
2% - 5% of wine is destroyed due to flawed closure (bad corks leading to undesirable/undrinkable taste). Just an average, some more, some less.

Been ITB before and my family is ITB.

If I farmed my vineyard, harvested, crushed, barreled and bottled my wine for as many thousands of dollars I paid to due so, I personally would use screw cap or DIAM as the closure. Especially if the overall bottle cost is within reason vs. cork closure. Luckily, I'm just a consumer, but can tell you its a bummer when the cork ruins all the hard work and time put inside the bottle when unconventional closure almost assuredly would prevent such situation.
Thanks for the response, Gabe. And I understand where you're coming from re: the frustrations of having a piece of tree bark ruin a bunch of hard work and time that you've put in to making wine.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#75 Post by Michael Sterling »

PaulMills wrote: February 24th, 2021, 6:55 pm Michael,
I have had about 12 bottles of FB that had TCA, please ship me a replacement case ASAP. [snort.gif]

Obviously just kidding, every bottle we have ever opened has been fabulous. We were so happy to hoist you and Ally for a tasting when you were getting started. As I pair down my cellar some and get rid of wines that do not suit my palate anymore, I hope to be able to buy more like yours.
The Paul Mills "In Home Tasting" tree is kind of impressive. You wouldn't believe how many tastings I can trace back to you and Caroline. Kind of crazy
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#76 Post by Brian Glas »

I still don't get why wineries use a closure method that has such a high failure rate. There are alternatives.

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#77 Post by Charlie Carnes »

Very well said Michael. I did have a corked bottle that you replaced, without asking. To me, I single corked bottle means nothing, I believe it is just a part drinking wine. I do think it is important, especially if the taster is sure of what he's tasting, as I believe most here are, is to spot trends. That is where I think the winemaker/company should really work hard to respond and be glad of the info... as much as it probably hurts sometimes. But again, thanks for the OP and the good customer service.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#78 Post by larry schaffer »

Brian Glas wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 9:59 am I still don't get why wineries use a closure method that has such a high failure rate. There are alternatives.
This . . .

And here's the interesting thing - cork companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop systems to eradicate TCA which is ironic in a number of ways:

1) Most consumers could not detect a corked wine. Period

2) Many consumers, including many on here, choose not to do anything about a corked wine for various reasons - 1) the price is 'too low' to hassle with it; 2) it's an older bottle so oh well or 3) they chalk it up to the variabilities of the closure

3) TCA is only one of the problems when it comes to natural corks, and often, its issues pale in comparison to random oxidation due to variable cell shapes in natural cork

Cheers.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#79 Post by Rodrigo B »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 5:34 pm
Brian Glas wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 9:59 am I still don't get why wineries use a closure method that has such a high failure rate. There are alternatives.
This . . .

And here's the interesting thing - cork companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop systems to eradicate TCA which is ironic in a number of ways:

1) Most consumers could not detect a corked wine. Period

2) Many consumers, including many on here, choose not to do anything about a corked wine for various reasons - 1) the price is 'too low' to hassle with it; 2) it's an older bottle so oh well or 3) they chalk it up to the variabilities of the closure

3) TCA is only one of the problems when it comes to natural corks, and often, its issues pale in comparison to random oxidation due to variable cell shapes in natural cork

Cheers.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#80 Post by JBrochu »

Is it true that most consumers cannot detect a corked wine? Does that just mean they don't know why it tastes bad? I find it hard to believe that they cannot tell that it tastes bad, regardless of if they know why.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#81 Post by larry schaffer »

JBrochu wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 6:53 pm Is it true that most consumers cannot detect a corked wine? Does that just mean they don't know why it tastes bad? I find it hard to believe that they cannot tell that it tastes bad, regardless of if they know why.
John,

Define 'bad' please . . .
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#82 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

The wine is damaged prior to time it becomes detectable as a distinct taste. You can tell it vs. a sound bottle well before it smells of cardboard

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#83 Post by JBrochu »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:02 pm
JBrochu wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 6:53 pm Is it true that most consumers cannot detect a corked wine? Does that just mean they don't know why it tastes bad? I find it hard to believe that they cannot tell that it tastes bad, regardless of if they know why.
John,

Define 'bad' please . . .
Well a badly corked wine is repulsive, at least to me. But I have had wines corked to lesser degrees, which are not as repulsive, but still taste bad to me. I can't imagine anybody thinks mildew/wet dog, even if subtle, is good. Although I once tried a wine that tasted like turpentine to me and my wife thought it wasn't that bad.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#84 Post by larry schaffer »

Barry L i p t o n wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:07 pm The wine is damaged prior to time it becomes detectable as a distinct taste. You can tell it vs. a sound bottle well before it smells of cardboard
Barry,

This may be true, but the vast majority of consumers seriously cannot detect it because they have never been trained to do so. Period.

Cheers.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#85 Post by Chris C a r y »

Sometimes TCA is low enough that it just strips all flavor, even acid is muted the wine tastes flat. If you haven’t had it before, it might be blah, but not spit out bad. Tolerance and detection levels for TCA are very personal too. Lots of ways it can be there, but not identified.

Most of us here have drank enough wines, including those w TCA or other flaws, to learn what they taste/smell like, and usually have another bottle, often of the same wine, at the ready to compare or to replace a flawed wine.

I once was served a slightly corked wine in a tasting room, I was the only one of 4 people who thought it was off. I pointed it out to the server who was someone I know, and they took it back to the other staff. The other person confirmed my suspicion and pulled the bottle, but the others, some very experienced wine palates may have never detected it.

Bad wine, as in poorly made, dull fruit, too much ABV, over oaked, unbalanced, are all subjective.

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#86 Post by larry schaffer »

JBrochu wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:14 pm
larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:02 pm
JBrochu wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 6:53 pm Is it true that most consumers cannot detect a corked wine? Does that just mean they don't know why it tastes bad? I find it hard to believe that they cannot tell that it tastes bad, regardless of if they know why.
John,

Define 'bad' please . . .
Well a badly corked wine is repulsive, at least to me. But I have had wines corked to lesser degrees, which are not as repulsive, but still taste bad to me. I can't imagine anybody thinks mildew/wet dog, even if subtle, is good. Although I once tried a wine that tasted like turpentine to me and my wife thought it wasn't that bad.
John,

Do you find that most wines that are 'corked' to you taste mildewy or just smell that way? I find it rare for that to be the case with the wines that I've detected as corked - they certainly smell mildewy but tend not to taste that way. And wet dog? To me, that could be due to other factors like brett (subjective is the key here).

Cheers.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#87 Post by Cris Whetstone »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 5:34 pm
Brian Glas wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 9:59 am I still don't get why wineries use a closure method that has such a high failure rate. There are alternatives.
This . . .

And here's the interesting thing - cork companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop systems to eradicate TCA which is ironic in a number of ways:

1) Most consumers could not detect a corked wine. Period

2) Many consumers, including many on here, choose not to do anything about a corked wine for various reasons - 1) the price is 'too low' to hassle with it; 2) it's an older bottle so oh well or 3) they chalk it up to the variabilities of the closure

3) TCA is only one of the problems when it comes to natural corks, and often, its issues pale in comparison to random oxidation due to variable cell shapes in natural cork

Cheers.
So on the one hand the cork industry is spending much treasure to eradicate a problem. On the other hand, it's a problem no one cares about. Is that a good summary?

When people are willing to pull their wines that they want to age for 10+ years under something other than cork, the problem will go away. But since no one is willing to put serious wines with a track record of aging under cork next to wines under screw caps or glass stoppers or anything else, then no one is going to trust those closures to give their wines the same sort of experience they get from aging wine under cork while suffering some small percentage of flawed wines.

TCA happens. It happens far less than threads like this make people want to believe. It still sucks when it does. But like many things cork is a bad option except when compared to all the others.

Put my rose under a screw cap/glass stopper/whatever. Awesome. My Monte Bello? Thanks but no thanks. I'll gamble on the cork. Until you can prove to people that Monte Bello will age the same for 15 years under one of those as it will under cork you're gonna be screaming into the wind.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#88 Post by JBrochu »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:32 pm
JBrochu wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:14 pm
larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:02 pm

John,

Define 'bad' please . . .
Well a badly corked wine is repulsive, at least to me. But I have had wines corked to lesser degrees, which are not as repulsive, but still taste bad to me. I can't imagine anybody thinks mildew/wet dog, even if subtle, is good. Although I once tried a wine that tasted like turpentine to me and my wife thought it wasn't that bad.
John,

Do you find that most wines that are 'corked' to you taste mildewy or just smell that way? I find it rare for that to be the case with the wines that I've detected as corked - they certainly smell mildewy but tend not to taste that way. And wet dog? To me, that could be due to other factors like brett (subjective is the key here).

Cheers.
It's more smell to me, (and I almost went back to edit my post to "smell/taste"), but I can also taste it. I mostly get mildew/rotted wood but have heard/read people describe it as wet dog and wet cardboard frequently.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#89 Post by larry schaffer »

Cris Whetstone wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:47 pm
larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 5:34 pm
Brian Glas wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 9:59 am I still don't get why wineries use a closure method that has such a high failure rate. There are alternatives.
This . . .

And here's the interesting thing - cork companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop systems to eradicate TCA which is ironic in a number of ways:

1) Most consumers could not detect a corked wine. Period

2) Many consumers, including many on here, choose not to do anything about a corked wine for various reasons - 1) the price is 'too low' to hassle with it; 2) it's an older bottle so oh well or 3) they chalk it up to the variabilities of the closure

3) TCA is only one of the problems when it comes to natural corks, and often, its issues pale in comparison to random oxidation due to variable cell shapes in natural cork

Cheers.
So on the one hand the cork industry is spending much treasure to eradicate a problem. On the other hand, it's a problem no one cares about. Is that a good summary?

When people are willing to pull their wines that they want to age for 10+ years under something other than cork, the problem will go away. But since no one is willing to put serious wines with a track record of aging under cork next to wines under screw caps or glass stoppers or anything else, then no one is going to trust those closures to give their wines the same sort of experience they get from aging wine under cork while suffering some small percentage of flawed wines.

TCA happens. It happens far less than threads like this make people want to believe. It still sucks when it does. But like many things cork is a bad option except when compared to all the others.

Put my rose under a screw cap/glass stopper/whatever. Awesome. My Monte Bello? Thanks but no thanks. I'll gamble on the cork. Until you can prove to people that Monte Bello will age the same for 15 years under one of those as it will under cork you're gonna be screaming into the wind.
Plumpjack Reserve Cab - bottled under both natural cork and screwcap since the 1997 vintage. There you go . . .
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#90 Post by Wes Barton »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:16 pm
Barry L i p t o n wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:07 pm The wine is damaged prior to time it becomes detectable as a distinct taste. You can tell it vs. a sound bottle well before it smells of cardboard
Barry,

This may be true, but the vast majority of consumers seriously cannot detect it because they have never been trained to do so. Period.

Cheers.
Countless times tasting with experienced winos there are split opinions on if a wine is corked or not. Being more sensitive to TCA than most (say 90%) and some small percentage of people much more sensitive than me, I've noticed a few things. Some people who know there are less sensitive to TCA than others at the table will still argue against their assertion a wine is corked. I've seen a whole group vote a wine last, but a majority insisting it isn't corked, while it was clear to me it was corked, and the recent sound bottle of the same wine would've trounced everything in the lineup. Then there are the folks who smugly hold a little bit of knowledge. To them, there's one answer. Every single bottle that doesn't show well, needs air to open up, is in a dumb phase, in it's normal shut down youth phase, whatever - all corked. Absolutely 100% certain every bottle that doesn't show well is corked, despite no tell tale signs. They found their one answer. No need to learn more, perfect comfort attained.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#91 Post by Cris Whetstone »

larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 8:18 pm
Cris Whetstone wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:47 pm
larry schaffer wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 5:34 pm

This . . .

And here's the interesting thing - cork companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to develop systems to eradicate TCA which is ironic in a number of ways:

1) Most consumers could not detect a corked wine. Period

2) Many consumers, including many on here, choose not to do anything about a corked wine for various reasons - 1) the price is 'too low' to hassle with it; 2) it's an older bottle so oh well or 3) they chalk it up to the variabilities of the closure

3) TCA is only one of the problems when it comes to natural corks, and often, its issues pale in comparison to random oxidation due to variable cell shapes in natural cork

Cheers.
So on the one hand the cork industry is spending much treasure to eradicate a problem. On the other hand, it's a problem no one cares about. Is that a good summary?

When people are willing to pull their wines that they want to age for 10+ years under something other than cork, the problem will go away. But since no one is willing to put serious wines with a track record of aging under cork next to wines under screw caps or glass stoppers or anything else, then no one is going to trust those closures to give their wines the same sort of experience they get from aging wine under cork while suffering some small percentage of flawed wines.

TCA happens. It happens far less than threads like this make people want to believe. It still sucks when it does. But like many things cork is a bad option except when compared to all the others.

Put my rose under a screw cap/glass stopper/whatever. Awesome. My Monte Bello? Thanks but no thanks. I'll gamble on the cork. Until you can prove to people that Monte Bello will age the same for 15 years under one of those as it will under cork you're gonna be screaming into the wind.
Plumpjack Reserve Cab - bottled under both natural cork and screwcap since the 1997 vintage. There you go . . .
I'm well aware of that. When was the last time anyone talked about Plumpjack as a premier wine that got better with age?

Even if anyone cared about aging Plumpjack that's ONE example. Who is willing to trust their Cheval Blanc because Plumpjack bottled some under cork and some under screwcap?
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#92 Post by Marshall Manning »

Cris Whetstone wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:47 pm When people are willing to pull their wines that they want to age for 10+ years under something other than cork, the problem will go away. But since no one is willing to put serious wines with a track record of aging under cork next to wines under screw caps or glass stoppers or anything else, then no one is going to trust those closures to give their wines the same sort of experience they get from aging wine under cork while suffering some small percentage of flawed wines.

TCA happens. It happens far less than threads like this make people want to believe. It still sucks when it does. But like many things cork is a bad option except when compared to all the others.

Put my rose under a screw cap/glass stopper/whatever. Awesome. My Monte Bello? Thanks but no thanks. I'll gamble on the cork. Until you can prove to people that Monte Bello will age the same for 15 years under one of those as it will under cork you're gonna be screaming into the wind.
Aren't there a lot of studies from Australia/NZ regarding the same wines under cork and screwcap? I thought I remember reading that not only do the wines age, but they age more consistently under screwcap.

And I believe there have also been a number of studies where 3-5% of wines with cork have TCA issues. I don't know how that relates to what "people want to believe", but that's a pretty high number for a product that could easily be far under 1% if everyone used screwcaps/glass/Diam-style corks. If Ridge decides to stop using crappy corks and bottles everything under screwcap or another alternative are people just going to stop buying it? I highly doubt it. It has to come from the winery first.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#93 Post by Cris Whetstone »

Marshall Manning wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 10:16 am
Cris Whetstone wrote: March 2nd, 2021, 7:47 pm When people are willing to pull their wines that they want to age for 10+ years under something other than cork, the problem will go away. But since no one is willing to put serious wines with a track record of aging under cork next to wines under screw caps or glass stoppers or anything else, then no one is going to trust those closures to give their wines the same sort of experience they get from aging wine under cork while suffering some small percentage of flawed wines.

TCA happens. It happens far less than threads like this make people want to believe. It still sucks when it does. But like many things cork is a bad option except when compared to all the others.

Put my rose under a screw cap/glass stopper/whatever. Awesome. My Monte Bello? Thanks but no thanks. I'll gamble on the cork. Until you can prove to people that Monte Bello will age the same for 15 years under one of those as it will under cork you're gonna be screaming into the wind.
Aren't there a lot of studies from Australia/NZ regarding the same wines under cork and screwcap? I thought I remember reading that not only do the wines age, but they age more consistently under screwcap.

And I believe there have also been a number of studies where 3-5% of wines with cork have TCA issues. I don't know how that relates to what "people want to believe", but that's a pretty high number for a product that could easily be far under 1% if everyone used screwcaps/glass/Diam-style corks. If Ridge decides to stop using crappy corks and bottles everything under screwcap or another alternative are people just going to stop buying it? I highly doubt it. It has to come from the winery first.
Yes. There were studies and famous photos showing the wines preserved just fine under screwcaps. But again, nothing about whether wines that are preferred with age change at the same curve. Besides I don't think anyone has doubted whether screwcaps provide a good seal. I feel like a lot of this is addressing what no one doubts.

Again, for wines that do not require age I'm all for using screwcaps. If nothing else they are more convenient in terms of opening and storage. For wines that we want to develop secondary and tertiary characters from time in bottle no one has really done comparative studies with wines that people prefer with age. Excepting Pumpjack if you find that notable.

I've never bought that 3-5% number. There's no way 1 out of 20 bottles I open is corked. Not even close. If it were that high we wouldn't even be having this conversation. There would have been a huge shift some years ago.

And I agree if an important winery agreed to do this it would be academic. But how do you convince them? This is exactly what I'm talking about. You can't just say 'all will be fine because I have pics of Australian Riesling that has a nice color after 8 years under screwcap and Plumpjack did this thing'. You have to make a case that A)it's a big problem, B)cannot be addressed with better selection and cleaning regimens and C) show them their wines will see no significant changes by the change. That includes how they will age since a large portion of the the customer base of an entity like Ridge cellars their wines. And of course all of this is in the shadow of cost.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#94 Post by larry schaffer »

Cris,

What percentage of wines bottled under natural cork do you think are purchased by people who know what a corked wine smells like? Therefore, how do we know what the true number is?
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#95 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

But, Larry, the percentage shouldn't change from person to person. Cris knows TCA, and therefore has an idea as to what percentage of bottles he opens are corked. There's no reason to believe the percentage would be any different for any other randomly-selected person. Your question/point is a red herring.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#96 Post by PeterH »

I've had a chance to do comparative tastings of both Argyle and Penner-Ash Pinot Noirs under cork and screwcap after 15 years in the bottle.
Result 1. Most people thought they were different wines.
Result 2. Even the screwcapped wines had developed, they just seemed younger and fresher.

On another note, iOTA Cellars replaced a corked berserker Day wine immediately, with free shipping. Fortunately, the night I opened the wine I had a back-up bottle from the same BD shipment, so I didn't miss tasting the delicious Pinot Noir.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#97 Post by Marshall Manning »

Cris Whetstone wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 11:12 am I've never bought that 3-5% number. There's no way 1 out of 20 bottles I open is corked. Not even close. If it were that high we wouldn't even be having this conversation. There would have been a huge shift some years ago.
I'd say the 3% is probably closer in my experience, but I'm talking 3% of wines bottled with traditional corks, not other alternatives. That's still 1 in 30 bottles, which is too much. Imagine if 1 in 30 cell phones, TVs, or any other product were complete failures from day one. The manufacturer would fix the issue.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#98 Post by larry schaffer »

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 12:43 pm But, Larry, the percentage shouldn't change from person to person. Cris knows TCA, and therefore has an idea as to what percentage of bottles he opens are corked. There's no reason to believe the percentage would be any different for any other randomly-selected person. Your question/point is a red herring.
Brian,

Not sure I understand your argument. One person's experience with TCA and the percentages that they find has no bearing on any other individual, does it? My point is that the average wine consumer does not recognize it, so do we really know what the overall rate of TCA incidence there actually is? Cris doesn't believe it's that high; others believe it is 3-5%; others believe it may be higher. Do you ever ask your friends who are new to wine - or have been drinking it for awhile - if they even know what TCA is? Believe me - I do every day . . .

Cheers.
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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#99 Post by Brian Curtis »

larry schaffer wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 2:39 pm My point is that the average wine consumer does not recognize it
I can certainly confirm this. The first time I ever knowingly smelled a corked bottle was at a big tasting. While waiting for my taste they opened a new bottle but rejected it because it was corked. I asked to smell it and the smell was instantly recognizable as something I had encountered before, but had never known was cork taint.

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Re: Corked Bottles on CellarTracker: A winemaker’s perspective

#100 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m »

larry schaffer wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 2:39 pm
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 12:43 pm But, Larry, the percentage shouldn't change from person to person. Cris knows TCA, and therefore has an idea as to what percentage of bottles he opens are corked. There's no reason to believe the percentage would be any different for any other randomly-selected person. Your question/point is a red herring.
[
Brian,

Not sure I understand your argument. One person's experience with TCA and the percentages that they find has no bearing on any other individual, does it?
No. *But,* I've tasted with Cris on many occasions, including multiple times with TCA-infected wines on the table, and know him to be quite astute and more sensitive than normal to TCA. As such, I lend more credence to his opinion re: TCA on any given wine, and also to TCA taint, overall.
My point is that the average wine consumer does not recognize it, so do we really know what the overall rate of TCA incidence there actually is?
I'd say we can have a reasonably accurate figure based on the reports of knowledgeable tasters who are sensitive to it; as stated above, Cris qualifies in that regard.
Cris doesn't believe it's that high; others believe it is 3-5%; others believe it may be higher.
Yep. I don't know "others" and "others," so I can't comment on their perceptions. As stated above, I do know Cris, have tasted wines with him more times than I can remember, and therefore am quite comfortable with my opinion of his perceptions.
Do you ever ask your friends who are new to wine - or have been drinking it for awhile - if they even know what TCA is? Believe me - I do every day . . .
Yep! I do this frequently, *especially* when I have a corked bottle on hand for folks to try (and learn). [cheers.gif]
Cheers.
Right back atcha, Larry. :) [cheers.gif]
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