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Delhi Wine Club
Taint Ain’t due to Cork but also Barrel Oak

Posted: Friday, 17 September 2010 17:57

Taint Ain’t due to Cork but also Barrel Oak

Pascal Chatonnet, Founder of a Bordeaux laboratory Excell in Mérignac, has dropped a bombshell by a report based on his research since 2004 which says that the new oak barrels may also be the culprit for giving the cork taint and the musty taste of wine but the French coopers have reacted negatively and claim the level of taint is no higher.

“Following a growing  number of observations, it is obvious that there are one or more sources of random contamination of the oak wood by the TCA (Tri-Chloro- Anisole 2-4-6). These TCA contaminate then the wines aged out of new barrels”, explained the expert who was astonished by the initial lack of reaction from the world of cooperage.

However, the coopers are indignant at the Press Release and have reacted through their Association, saying, “These remarks are inaccurate and disparaging for the coopers of France.”  The statement issued in French translates roughly as, “within our Federation, a technical commission has been working on the subject for many years, in collaboration with several analysis laboratories of repute, in order to understand accurately the means of detecting and of preventing this risk. The result of this research which continues without slackening of pace, is collected in the Guide of the Good Practices of the Wet cooper, on their Website and is distributed widely to their customers.

These initial results from the Excell laboratories will soon be published by “The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry”. The origins of this TCA are not yet exactly known.

However Chatonnet insists otherwise and says“It is exactly the same as with the cork manufacturers, 20 years ago: the cork taste did not exist. One knows what happened next.” 

These initial results from Excell laboratories will soon be published by The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Incidentally, the origins of this TCA are not yet exactly known.

One person who may not buy the research by Chatonnet is Vanya Cullen, the managing director and senior winemaker at Cullen Wines in Western Australia’s Margaret River, who was also a fellow judge at the second edition of the India Wine Challenge in Delhi a couple of years ago. She says the use of natural cork is unacceptable for any wine. For me, the screwcap wins over cork every time’, she says.

The reason is not far from comprehending. At a historical 30-year vertical tasting of her Chardonnay with cork as the closure, she found that 1982 still was alive with golden tinges and some lovely citrus fruit’. But with the exception of 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001, rest of the wines under cork had just died and the cork taint had killed the other vintages. She is convinced that cork is the sole culprit.



Sanjiv K Singh Says:

You have not understood my comment, if a wine has a cork taint no self respecting wine maker would fill it in bottles. I stand by my comment which is neither harsh nor unfair. It is directed against wine makers bottling defective wine and no body else.

Posted @ September 21, 2010 13:02


Subhash Arora Says:

That is a very harsh and unfair comment. This is just one study and we have reported it. Results may or may not be valid. One cannot blame anyone-least of all for cheating. It is like cork which has been a debatable subject for decades. Similarly taint has been found to be in the winery cellars under certain conditions. Most people cannot even detect the cork taint. The article was intended as a source of information and should be taken as such. We will keep our readers informed on further developments. Subhash Arora

Posted @ September 20, 2010 13:50


Sanjiv K Singh Says:

If the wine is getting its cork taint & musty taste from the oak barrel then wine makers are guilty of filling bad wine and cheating the trade.

Posted @ September 20, 2010 13:14


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