This mold can steal your flavor Fresh picked blueberries, juicy peach, toasted vanilla bean, or wet dog paw, which one does not belong? The first three flavors are great descriptors for wine; unfortunately, the last one is a pretty accurate descriptor for a corked bottle of wine. Nuances of wet dog or mildew, no matter how slight, are an indication of TCA, a bleach-loving mold that infects corks and bottling facilities. As revolting as a corked bottle can taste, TCA starts out as a loss of fruitiness with no ill flavor. So that highly recommended, highly disappointing bottle may still be a great wine, just not the one you opened. Even though it tastes like it could kill you, you can drink the wine. A faint cardboard flavor can be tolerated when the wine is still tasty enough to drink. When you encounter a bottle that is too far gone don't dump the wine down the drain. Pour it back into the bottle, put the cork back in, and return it to the store where you purchased it. Retailers get credit for bad bottles of wine. Some experts estimate that one bottle in twelve is tainted with TCA. Just because one bottle has it, doesn't mean that another bottle from the same case does too. TCA mold takes effect by coming in contact with the wine in the bottle. Mold on the top of the cork is usually not an indication that the bottle is corked. Screw caps insure against cork funk and are growing in popularity with winemakers. For those of you that refuse to accept this, you've probably never experienced full blown ground rubber band and swamp dog taint. As soon as you do, you'll probably re-think your devotion to the centuries old technology of cork.
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