Is pointing out a "corked" wine a buzz kill?

Oh yes. Both sad but true.

And they’re usually the same people trying to turn wine into a swinging dick contest on top of it, how’s that for irony!

I would be more worried about people that come to an OL after the corks were pulled and brought no wines of their own only to sample everything and take snacks home in a doggy bag. I’m just sayin’ that I have heard about this.

That’s just pathetic. I’m glad to say I have not run into any such occurrences at CA offlines. [dance-clap.gif] [drinkers.gif]

Thread drift fellas. [whistle.gif]

Bruce, these people are friends. They may not be as sensitive to corked wine. And the corky jokes are largely lighthearted but it seems there is really no exact protocol.

Although I like Barnet’s pragmatism… kind of a case by case situation. I just find it hard when I come across a flawed wine I seem to blurt it out (usually just by smelling the glass pour).

I tend to think that if people are serious about wine, and it sounds like your friends are, then they should appreciate someone pointing out that a wine is corked. Just like other aspects of wine tasting, we need to train our senses to detect certain aromas or flavors, whether they are pleasurable or not. Some may have no problem drinking (and enjoying) a corked wine, which is fine I suppose, but I do think it is important to point out that that bottle is not entirely representative of how that wine should taste.

If someone else is pouring the wine for you [for free], and if they are enjoying it, then just keep your big fat mouth shut and let them go on enjoying it.

If it’s your own wine [that you paid for], then you can decide for yourself whether you want to alert everyone to the fact that it’s corked.

Let’s face it: most wines have some sort of flaw or another - concentrate on the good stuff and let the rest of it just be water under the bridge.

Whoa, how 'bout that for an opinion? This is a tough one, that is why I thought it would be interesting to discuss… or type.

TCA is not a flaw of the wine. Wine flaws are interesting to me and often enlightening.

Movies can be flawed in numerous ways that bother some more than others but those are up for discussion and are often what make for differences in enjoyment. TCA to me is like having the projector light going out.

If your group doesn’t discuss the merits of the wines they’re drinking, it may be buzz kill because the people may not really care. But if you’re discussing the wines, isn’t corked or not corked something everyone would want to discuss just like VA, oxidation or heat damage? It is to me…and they shouldn’t feel slighted…it’s not personal…if someone brings a corked wine, they had nothing to do with it.

While I agree with Nathan and his view, I never do this and instead open my big fat mouth just like Jeff says he does. It comes down to how sensitive your hosts are and how they internalize/personalize their own wines. Some people with big cellars are not necessarily wine geeks, even if they hang around wine geeks. They may have spent a fortune on XYZ bottle, or bought it by the case at auction or had it flown across the country for the tasting. The last thing they want to hear is that it is corked, even if they know it is corked. If I open a wine and it is corked, I let everyone know and then dump the thing. People are usually amazed by this, whereas I’m usually amazed at how people take umbrage at being told a wine is corked. So, while I act like Jeff, I need to act more like Nathan. Life is too short.

Good grief - if the wife served you something disgusting that she had cooked herself, would you announce to the world how awful it tasted? And would you then spit it back out onto your plate?

Would you inform her that her pants-suit made her caboose look even wider than normal, despite the fact that you wouldn’t have thought that that could have been humanly possible?

Would you tell the husband that his kids were developmentally-challenged morons, and that he can go ahead and blow some of the money that he was saving for Harvard because it’s clear that they’re never going to progress beyond Community College?

Heck, for all I know, maybe some of you guys DO talk like that at dinner parties.

I don’t think any of these analogies work, Nathan.

A corked wine can be difficult to detect for some people. It is a question of sensitivity to it and training. The people who end up with a corked wine did not create the bottle, they simply purchased it. And it is educational to know when there is a problem with the wine and it may suffer in showing because of it.

As far as telling the wife if a meal is off, I do it all of the time. My girl and I always critique our food. We both enjoy cooking tremendously and appreciate the feedback. We are trying to perfect dishes and tweaks here and there are the key. Also, we are both Italian so when either one of us make a “sugo,” the sparks start to fly!

Unless your friends are winemakers, they didn’t MAKE the wine–they just brought it. Analogy fail.


Good grief Nathan - if the wife was making you a meal from rancid meat would you let her continue and eat up so as not to offend her?

Would you tell her that the ass was ripped out of her pants embarrassing her when she was among company?

Would you not tell someone that their children probably shouldn’t be playing in the boulevard during rush hour?

I’ve never seen a positive reaction come from pointing out a corked (or bretty or cooked wine). People often looked stunned or say that I’m too difficult to please. Last time was at an offline over a year ago and that was the last time I did that.

Exactly. If you take offense to the fact that your wine is corked, then you are taking your wine way too seriously.

Well, we’re having a wine dinner tonight with a bunch o’ Burgs, so something will probably be corked. I’ll loudly announce that EVERYTHING is corked so that way no one will feel picked on…


I probably shouldn’t comment on etiquette, as I’m not the most socially graceful. But at events with my village wine group (less “serious” than my other groups) or other non-wine centric groups, if I think a wine is corked and others are commenting favorably I just say “hey, do you think maybe this wine is a little corked? I can see what you’re saying, but to me there’s just a hint of TCA.” Someone says “what’s TCA?” I give the 2 minute version, pointing out that it’s random (if cork induced) and doesn’t reflect upon the quality of the underlying wine- it can happen to any cork finished bottle. I also point out that variations in sensitivity don’t say much about one tasting abilities otherwise, and all of us are insenstive to various things. I don’t THINK I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings. And usually most others notice when the mustiness is pointed out.

At my more serious groups no one ever is insulted, though occasionally we disagree on a (possibly lightly) corked bottle.

As to distributors/reps pouring corked wine, I’ve seen it plenty of times in consumer tastings at retailers. I remember getting a pour of a 2001 Moccagatta at a big retailer tasting (10-12 distributors with a table each). Massively corked. I quietly and politely say to the Skurnik pourer “I think you might want to try this bottle, it seems corked”. He says “it’s ok, I’ve already tried it twice. Someone else thought it was corked, but then realized it was the alcohol.” (!?!?!?!) I looked around to see if I see anyone from the retailer was around, but no one nearby. All I can say is that if I was a distributor, and 2 people independently questioned whether a bottle of wine was corked, I’d get a second opinion.

I whole hearted-ly agree here. Not to sound like a snob, but I hate drinking corked wine. Early on, when ever I had a corked bottle, I would drink the whole thing, in 1 sitting. That’ll teach you what TCA tastes like!

A recent example. I planned on bringing 2000 Aldo Conterno Granbussia (a $200+ bottle of wine) as a blind tasting wine, and it was corked, and rather badly. I gave it to my staff to see what corked wine was like, but had absolutely no intentions of bringing it to the tasting. Instead I brought another blind tasting wine I feel badly about subjecting to the crowd (it just didn’t show well).

Blurting out, “IT’S CORKED, IT’S CORKED” really loudly won’t make any friends, but merely making the suggestion, you shouldn’t get scolded for. Life is too short to drink bad wine, and wine that is corked, is bad.