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Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

You open a bottle of wine but you realize that it is corked! What are the solutions? There are several options available to you to try to save a corked wine. Don't throw your bottle into the sink without trying to save it!

What is a "corked wine"?

A wine is said to be corked when the cork of the cork gives a musty smell to the wine, cork dust, or wet soil. If you have any doubts you can feel the part of the cork that was in contact with the wine. If you smell the same smell, chances are that the wine will actually be corked. At the tasting you will also feel that the wine tastes like wet cardboard. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to detect this taste. You don't always feel at the first sip that a wine is corked. The more minutes pass, the more you will feel it. Some people detect faster than others that a wine is corked.

How does a wine become "corked"?

There may be different reasons for a wine to be corked:

  • If the bottles are stored for too long standing upright the cork can dehydrate and then diffuse a smell to the wine.

  • A cork may already be contaminated, this case is rarer because corks are nowadays treated to avoid this problem.

  • The molecules that will give the wine that musty taste can also be born in the wooden cellar, where the wine ferments. The cork is not always responsible.

Solutions to save your wine

There are solutions to reduce corkiness but you will not find a miracle solution and sometimes some methods do not improve the taste of the wine but make it worse. So it's not very reliable. It is also important to know that a completely corked wine is irrecoverable and above all undrinkable. Nevertheless, here are some solutions that could help you:

  • You can remove the wine completely from the bottle to put it in a decanter and air it out. The problem with this method is that sometimes the corked taste gets worse.

  • A sheet of cling film could also be the solution. For this method it is necessary to decant the wine, i. e. to transfer it to a carafe, rolled on itself in the carafe, the sheet of cling film would partially absorb the taste of the cork. The problem with this method is that the sheet sometimes gives a plastic taste. This technique only works for wines with little corkiness but is much less effective for others.

  • Some say that Port should be added to wine but this method is risky because the Port will slightly mask the taste of the cork but will completely change the wine and its taste. You will no longer recognize your bottle.

Otherwise there is no real solution to save a corked wine. However, it should not be thrown in the sink, if a wine is not too corked it can be reused in sauce to cook a good dish. To mask this corked taste, long-cooked dishes are the most suitable, such as beef bourguignon for example. A wine that is too corked, even in willow. This is not recoverable.

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