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Thomas

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Re: TCA takes time...

by Thomas » Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:01 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:
Thomas wrote:That would mean the cork can taint the wine without touching it.


Thomas, although Dale has explained his story, cork taint can be spread without direct contact between cork and wine. The very fact that you can smell it tells you that TCA is volatile enough to exist partly in the gas phase. Any gas in the headspace can and will dissolve in the wine to whatever extent it's soluble. Technically, this is called gas-phase diffusion, but it's a far slower process than simply leaching TCA out of a tainted cork directly into the wine. Nonetheless, a wine stoppered with a tainted cork will pick up the taint even if the bottle is always stored upright. Alas, we are so senstive to TCA (for the most part) that it can be detected in the low part per billion level: it doesn't take much to ruin your wine.

Mark Lipton


Thanks Mark. I supected as much but this is an area in which I have no access to study.

Anyway, it certainly doesn't take much for TCA to ruin my wine. I seem to be extra alert to its presence. My wife thinks I'm a dog...wait a minute, that can't be right. She thinks I have a dog's nose. That's better. ;)
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Victorwine

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Re: TCA takes time...

by Victorwine » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:32 pm

Hi Mark,
Is it possible that a process similar to this can work in the opposite direction? According to the Australian Wine Institute, wines with reasonably high levels of TCA taint that were stored in the upright position with the original cork and retested 2 weeks later were found to have smaller or no trace of TCA taint in the wine.

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Re: TCA takes time...

by Michael Pronay » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:34 pm

Victorwine wrote:Hi Mark,
Is it possible that a process similar to this can work in the opposite direction? According to the Australian Wine Institute, wines with reasonably high levels of TCA taint that were stored in the upright position with the original cork and retested 2 weeks later were found to have smaller or no trace of TCA taint in the wine.

I'm not Mark, but Jamie Goode on his website reports about a large scale British wine industry trial where the supposedly tainted samples, tasted two weeks later, showed significantly less TCA taint. But this, was resumed, did not come from falling TCA levels but from oxidation which tends to overlap the overt TCA smell.

Take a look: http://wineanorak.com/mustytaint.htm
Ceterum censeo corticem esse delendam
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Victorwine » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:12 pm

Hi Michael,
In Jamie’s 10 minute telephone conversation with Godden from the AWRI and when Godden replies ‘We tested ullaged bottles with a reasonably high level of TCA—15 ng/l. Ullaged bottles were recorked and left on a desk for 2 weeks. Just a trace of TCA was found: all the rest had been absorbed back into the cork.’ “We tested” does not mean the WSA or its independent laboratories but the AWRI, and I’m assuming the AWRI performed this test using both sensory assessment and chemical analysis.

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Re: TCA takes time...

by Michael Pronay » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:03 am

Victor,

you're right; I hadn't reread Jamie's article and had only the other reason why the methodology was flawed (lesser TCA recgnition treshold levels in oxidized wines) in mind.

Thus said, the theory of putting back a cork into a bottle of TCAed wine in order to let the cork absorb the TCA and to get a taint free wine, sounds definitely absurd to me.
Ceterum censeo corticem esse delendam
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Mark Lipton » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:28 pm

Victorwine wrote:Hi Mark,
Is it possible that a process similar to this can work in the opposite direction? According to the Australian Wine Institute, wines with reasonably high levels of TCA taint that were stored in the upright position with the original cork and retested 2 weeks later were found to have smaller or no trace of TCA taint in the wine.

Salute


Hello,
(sorry for the delay - I just got back from a speaking engagement in Pennsylvania) The process certainly works in both directions, but if I understand you properly it's not likely to do much. Assuming that the cork is the same (contaminated) one that originally stoppered the bottle, the concentration of TCA in the cork is determined by an equilibrium with the TCA in the headspace (assuming no direct contact with the wine). So, I can't see any reason why the TCA present in the wine would preferentially accumulate in the cork if we're already at equilibrium. OTOH, a clean cork should remove a good deal of the TCA from the wine, but that wasn't your question, was it?

HTH
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Victorwine » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:16 am

Thank you very much Mark.

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Re: TCA takes time...

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:25 am

Mark,

Is there a source of clean cork?

I would love to try standing a bottle of wine upright for awhile -- maybe several awhiles -- to save some of the corked bottles I've found.

I tried the plastic wrap approach and it actually worked to reduce TCA -- but it also reduced the fruit, at least to my taste. Maybe there was TCA below my ability to taste it, but still enough to reduce the fruit.

Next time I get a corked wine, I'll do a two stage test.

In the meantime, please let me know if you think your clean cork approach would actually work.

Regards, Bob
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Mark Lipton » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:48 am

Bob Ross wrote:Mark,

Is there a source of clean cork?


Well, you could always try scrubbing your own with soap and water :P

I would love to try standing a bottle of wine upright for awhile -- maybe several awhiles -- to save some of the corked bottles I've found.

I tried the plastic wrap approach and it actually worked to reduce TCA -- but it also reduced the fruit, at least to my taste. Maybe there was TCA below my ability to taste it, but still enough to reduce the fruit.

Next time I get a corked wine, I'll do a two stage test.

In the meantime, please let me know if you think your clean cork approach would actually work.


Bob,
As I previously stated, the problem is our extreme sensitivity to TCA. I am fairly sure that you could remove something like 90% of the TCA with a clean cork, but will the remaining 10% of the TCA be below your detection threshold? Hard to say. Is it fundamentally any better than the Saran Wrap approach? Again, hard to say. It's worth an experiment or two. I also have used a device known as a "Dream-Taste" that is a fancier version of the Saran Wrap technique, employing custom-built TCA extractors. It seems to do the job, but I'm still not sure that what you get back actually resembles the uncorked wine.

Mark Lipton
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:53 am

Have you tried the two stage approach with any of the three options Mark?

Your theory is great, and I've read all of your posts on the subject.

But I haven't seen a two step approach anywhere.

Some of the older wines are so precious in money and in history, that even a pale imitation might be fun.

Next corked wine, I'll have two out of three -- and if my scrub brush is in shape -- three out of three of the options ready to test in three different quarter bottles.

It will be more fun than pouring the 750 down the drain, that's for sure.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Regard, Bob
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Re: TCA takes time...

by Mark Lipton » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:29 am

Bob Ross wrote:Have you tried the two stage approach with any of the three options Mark?


I'm not sure, Bob. Tell me exactly what you mean by a two stage approach and I'll be able to tell.


Some of the older wines are so precious in money and in history, that even a pale imitation might be fun.


Yeah, that's my attitude, too. Recent releases are easy: just take them back to the retailer, etc. It's the special bottles that have been rotting in my cellar for a few decades, or a bottle that I picked up at auction, that really irk me when corked -- and it's those bottles that I'm likely to expend money and/or effort on remediating.

Next corked wine, I'll have two out of three -- and if my scrub brush is in shape -- three out of three of the options ready to test in three different quarter bottles.

It will be more fun than pouring the 750 down the drain, that's for sure.

Thanks for the encouragement.


You're most welcome, Bob. Always happy to assist in the battle against cork taint. Since I average ~10% loss to cork taint, I am quite motivated to find solutions, even partial ones.

Mark Lipton
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