Since the beginning of the year I have been keeping track of the number of corked bottles of wine I have come across. Again, for my purposes here I am just considering 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA).

TCA typically comes from cork but may also come from barrels and other sources. A number of people have asked me what a wine affected by TCA smells/tastes like. The most frequent descriptions are ‘musty’ or ‘moldy newspaper’ or ‘damp basement.’ Looking for TCA is part of the purpose of checking a wine when it is presented at a restaurant (where at least you have the good fortune of being able to send it back). Unfortunately in many cases consumers don’t know what to look for and just think that the wine is of bad quality.

To try to make the count as accurate as possible I have: only included wines that I have personally checked (meaning that they hadn’t already been screened); and only included wines that used cork as a closure (excluding synthetic corks, glass stoppers, and screw caps).

Since the start of the year I’ve sampled 274 wines that fit these criteria. Eight of these wines have been corked, making the percentage currently about 3%.

One interesting question is, what constitutes an acceptable level?

I’ll continue to give periodic updates throughout the year and will also continue to increment the ‘Corked Counter’ along the side of the blog. Feel free to share your stories and thoughts.