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Sean P. Sullivan

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2011 Corked Counter Update

Friday, February 25, 2011

After starting off 2011 with a corked wine, I decided to keep a tally of the number of corked wines I have this year (see the original post regarding this here). To try to make the count as accurate as possible I have: only included wines that I have personally checked to see whether they were corked, meaning that they hadn't already been screened; and only included wines that used cork as a closure, excluding synthetic corks, glass stoppers, and screwcaps.

Since the start of the year I've sampled 145 wines with a cork closure. Four of these wines have been corked. This makes the percentage of corked wines a little under 3%.

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.

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  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. 'increment' is a noun. Maybe you should increment yersef an editor.

  3. Anon, and sentences start with capital letters! If you're interested, I can offer double my salary.

  4. Tyler H. Says:
  5. Got to love the anonymous critics! Keep up the good work Sean, on my own personal corked counter the tally has reached 2.

  6. Thanks for the update Tyler.

  7. gj-captures Says:
  8. Sean,

    Is there any correlation with winery? or year? or any other correlation of any sort?


  9. gj-captures, not that I've seen as of yet but I'm hoping I'll be able to see some correlations with a larger data set. My assumption would be that less expensive bottles are more likely to be corked because they are using less expensive corks (generally) which will presumably have a higher contamination rate. We'll see.

  10. Anonymous Says:
  11. Have you thought of expanding the list to include "flawed" wines? For example, I come across bottles that have bacterial spoilage, excessive VA, reductive flavors etc... Often times it is not clear if the wine was damaged in transit, bad cork, bad winemaking or whatever, but clearly the wine is not as intended.

    My wine opening failures average around 7-8%.


  12. Sean,
    As you are conducting this survey/study for public viewing, I was wondering what scientific criteria you are using to denote a wine that is "corked"? Is it strictly 2,4,6-trichloroanisole(TCA)? Are you taking into consideration; storage conditions, transportation and oak barrels,(recent studies have shown TCA can be transfered to wine from Oak barrels). Also, is there another person tasting the wine with you, sort of a "peer review" if you will?
    There is a great deal of misinformation about TCA and other chemical compounds that affect wine. I think for your study to be fair and accurate, you would have to take these and other criteria into consideration. Blaming the cork solely, seems a bit myopic.

  13. Tom, thanks for the comment. For the purposes of what I'm doing here, I'm looking strictly at TCA taint.

  14. Patrick, for the purposes of what I am doing here I am looking strictly at 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). Unfortunately, it is impossible to take factors such as storage, transport, etc into consideration as these factors are mostly unknown to me. The wines that I am sampling have a mixture of origin: directly purchased from a winery; shipped directly from a winery; sold to wholesalers; sold to retailers; sent overseas; stored by me; stored by others etc.

    I am the sole person making the determination of whether a wine is affected by TCA or not. However, on most occasions I am sampling wines with others. In the case of the four bottles I have counted thus far, all have been agreed upon by the various people I have tasted them with.

    I would be interested to see the research on TCA transferred from oak barrels if you have the reference.

    Thanks for the thoughts.


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