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Elchonon Hellinger

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Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Elchonon Hellinger » Sun May 12, 2013 11:35 pm

Just drinking a corked bottle and was thinking of the mechanism's and all, wiki has some corked treatments, has any one had success ?

Filtration and purification systems now exist that attempt to remove the TCA from corked wine to make it drinkable again, though there are few means of reducing the level of TCA in tainted wine that are approved by the TTB (formerly BATF).

One method of removing TCA from tainted wine is to soak polyethylene (a plastic used for applications such as milk containers and plastic food wrap) in the affected wine. The non-polar TCA molecule has a high affinity for the polyethylene molecule, thereby removing the taint from the wine. The surface area of polyethylene needed to reduce the taint to sub-threshold levels is based on the TCA level in the affected wine, temperature, and the alcohol level of the wine.

This can be done at home, as advocated by Andrew Waterhouse, professor of wine chemistry at University of California, Davis, by pouring the wine into a bowl with a sheet of polyethylene plastic wrap. For ease of pouring, a pitcher, measuring cup, or decanter can be used instead. The 2,4,6-trichloroanisole will stick to the plastic. The process is effective within a few minutes.[5]

Some vintners have used Half & Half to remove TCA from wine (the TCA in the wine is sequestered by the butterfat in Half & Half).

The French company Embag markets a product called "Dream Taste"[6] which uses a copolymer shaped like a cluster of grapes to remove the TCA taint from wine.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Mark Lipton » Mon May 13, 2013 12:14 am

I've used various treatments for TCA-tainted wines. I was an early adopter of the polyethylene treatment and some well-intentioned friends gave me a commercial device that also does solid-liquid extraction of TCA from wine. My experience is that, although the aromas associated with TCA may be removed, the resultant wine is still clearly different (and less appealing) than an untainted bottle of the same wine. Those treated wines still taste "stripped" of their nose, which most likely results from the simultaneous extraction of low-MW esters that contribute to the nose.

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Steve Slatcher

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Steve Slatcher » Mon May 13, 2013 3:06 am

Mark Lipton wrote:I was an early adopter of the polyethylene treatment and some well-intentioned friends gave me a commercial device that also does solid-liquid extraction of TCA from wine. My experience is that, although the aromas associated with TCA may be removed, the resultant wine is still clearly different (and less appealing) than an untainted bottle of the same wine.

Me too.

Note that different people describe the "polythene trick" differently. I always associate it with Nick Alabaster, and from memory he suggested rolling up the sheet, inserting into the bottle, and leaving for 24hrs. That is the version I used. It may have been imagination, but I always thought it introduced a slightly plasticy taste. Neither did it remove all the TCA, though for some it might well have brought it below the detection threshold..
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Fredrik L » Mon May 13, 2013 4:23 am

My version has worked very well: no matter what the bottle costs, when I find a tainted one I send it on to the wine maker asking him/her what I should with this undrinkable mess. I have received substitute bottles every time!

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Elchonon Hellinger

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Elchonon Hellinger » Mon May 13, 2013 10:46 am

Fredrik L wrote:My version has worked very well: no matter what the bottle costs, when I find a tainted one I send it on to the wine maker asking him/her what I should with this undrinkable mess. I have received substitute bottles every time!

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L


lol that does work, but some times weve has corked bottles that, while not very expensive, were pretty much gone from the market.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Mark Lipton » Mon May 13, 2013 11:07 am

Fredrik L wrote:My version has worked very well: no matter what the bottle costs, when I find a tainted one I send it on to the wine maker asking him/her what I should with this undrinkable mess. I have received substitute bottles every time!


Fredrik,
I do apply that method when I can, but all too often it happens with bottles that have lain in my cellar for a decade or two, or ones that were acquired at auction. There's no simple remedy for those, alas.

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Fredrik L » Mon May 13, 2013 1:46 pm

That a bottle has been sold at auction does not free the producer, does it? I send back those, too. But you are right, I receive bottles currently for sale, not older library examples.

Greetings from Sweden / Fredrik L
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Paul Winalski » Mon May 13, 2013 4:11 pm

I intend to try the polyethylene film trick the next time I open a TCA-tainted bottle.

-Paul W.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Bill Spohn » Mon May 13, 2013 4:19 pm

I've never bothered with plastic wrap. If there is TCA, the wine is affected, the only question is how much, and the only answer is you'll never know unless you open an untainted one and taste it side by side.

I've never understood why people make apologetic remarks about corked wine "Well, the fruit isn't bad" or "Its still drinkable". You want to drink tainted wine, go for it. I just open something else and toss the bad wine in with the cooking wine. If I'd bought it in the last few years, I can take it back to our provincial liquor monopoly and get a refund.

A friend had bought a couple of cases of mixed wines at auction and picked them up for a blind tasting we did last Friday. The first two bottles he opened were corked - both 1970 Bordeaux, sadly.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Robin Garr » Mon May 13, 2013 4:48 pm

It did work for me in a (non-blind) experiment several years ago, involving an atrociously corked, cheap Vinho Verde.

http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvis ... 0829.phtml

As noted in the article, I can't state with certainty that the TCA and the treatment didn't strip out some of the wine's flavors, such as they were :mrgreen: ... but in fairness, the dank TCA stench went away after a couple of hours, in this one case at least.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Paul Winalski » Mon May 13, 2013 6:57 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I've never understood why people make apologetic remarks about corked wine "Well, the fruit isn't bad" or "Its still drinkable". You want to drink tainted wine, go for it. I just open something else and toss the bad wine in with the cooking wine. If I'd bought it in the last few years, I can take it back to our provincial liquor monopoly and get a refund.


If the wine in question is both your bottles of Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-Saint-Vivant from a top vintage 10+ years old, you'll look for ways to work around the corkiness, if possible (it wasn't in this case :cry: ).

-Paul W.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Bill Spohn » Mon May 13, 2013 7:43 pm

I understand the inclination, Paul, but there IS no way to rectify a wine that is corked. Simply removing the TCA stink may improve your experience but it still tells you nothing about what the wine really is. The corkiness may have killed from 1%-99% of the fruit and enjoyment you'd have otherwise have had, and you'll never know where on that line the truth lies.
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Lou Kessler

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Lou Kessler » Mon May 13, 2013 9:52 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:I've used various treatments for TCA-tainted wines. I was an early adopter of the polyethylene treatment and some well-intentioned friends gave me a commercial device that also does solid-liquid extraction of TCA from wine. My experience is that, although the aromas associated with TCA may be removed, the resultant wine is still clearly different (and less appealing) than an untainted bottle of the same wine. Those treated wines still taste "stripped" of their nose, which most likely results from the simultaneous extraction of low-MW esters that contribute to the nose.

Mark Lipton

"Stripped" a perfect description of wine after the polyethylene treatment. I would take it a step further and say the taste of the wine is diminished also.
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Clint Hall

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Clint Hall » Tue May 14, 2013 1:00 am

Bill Spohn says he uses corked wine to cook with. I've always felt that if you wouldn't drink a wine you also wouldn't want to cook with it. But if cooking chases away the TCA, that's another thing. I wonder, does it?
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Bill Spohn » Tue May 14, 2013 1:50 am

I've never been able to detect TCA in cooked food - I expect that the heat breaks it down. I wouldn't use it in sauces that aren't cooked or delicate white wine sauces for fear that it might come through. We keep dregs and corked wine ends and use them in hearty stews and such and I can't say that I've had any problems with that.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Clint Hall » Tue May 14, 2013 2:50 am

That's interesting, Bill. I'm willing to give it a try, but before I shock my wife by asking her to cook with something she would never drink (she's even more sensitive to TCA than I am), I had better have an endorsement from a chemist. Mark, what say you?
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Steve Slatcher » Tue May 14, 2013 1:21 pm

Clint Hall wrote:Bill Spohn says he uses corked wine to cook with. I've always felt that if you wouldn't drink a wine you also wouldn't want to cook with it. But if cooking chases away the TCA, that's another thing. I wonder, does it?

I have certainly had an experience where it did not work. Others have had more success. See here for more detail...
http://www.winenous.co.uk/wp/archives/163
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Steve Slatcher » Tue May 14, 2013 1:32 pm

BTW I don't think TCA does actually strip out aromas from the wine. Rather, it interferes with the perception of aromas. I say this from limited evidence of the effects of removing TCA, a discussion here regarding a corked wines affecting flavours in food, and the absence of any proposed mechanism for the stripping.

What is sure is that polythene (and some other plastics) will remove aromatic compounds in the same way that it removes TCA. I have, for example, a vague memory about synthetic closures removing TDN (the "petrol" in Riesling).
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Mark Lipton » Tue May 14, 2013 3:20 pm

Steve Slatcher wrote:BTW I don't think TCA does actually strip out aromas from the wine. Rather, it interferes with the perception of aromas. I say this from limited evidence of the effects of removing TCA, a discussion here regarding a corked wines affecting flavours in food, and the absence of any proposed mechanism for the stripping.

What is sure is that polythene (and some other plastics) will remove aromatic compounds in the same way that it removes TCA. I have, for example, a vague memory about synthetic closures removing TDN (the "petrol" in Riesling).


I agree 100% Steve. The stripping of aromas is a sensory effect that arises from some interaction of TCA with our olfactory receptors. The usual aromatic molecules are still present in the wine, though (this is especially noteworthy in low-level TCA contamination that manifests as "fruit scalping"). As I stated earlier, though, the polyethylene removes more than just TCA, alas.

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Bill Spohn » Tue May 14, 2013 3:35 pm

Mark - I like the term 'fruit scalping'!
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Mark Lipton » Tue May 14, 2013 3:53 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Mark - I like the term 'fruit scalping'!


Michael Pronay was first person I can recall who used that term, Bill.

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Paul Winalski » Fri May 17, 2013 2:09 am

So I opened a bottle of Rodney Strong 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir tonight. CORKED!

I crumpled up a big wad of polyethylene wrap and stuffed it in the bottle, bled more nitrogen over it (it's in my nitrogen dispenser system), and we'll see what happens over the next few days. Stay tuned.

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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Paul Winalski » Fri May 17, 2013 9:03 pm

So 24 hours after inserting the polyethylene film, I poured out from the nitrogen dispenser another glass of the corked wine.

Verdict: still corked. I want to think that it's less so than the pre-treatment glass from yesterday, but if there's an improvement it isn't drastic. This particular wine wasn't so far gone to start with that I'd just pour it down the drain. I drank last night's clearly corked glass, and I drank tonight's.

So results are inconclusive.

I'll try the polyethylene treatment again on the next corked bottle I encounter. After all, the worst that can happen is that I decide I still have to pour it down the drain. Any improvement is a plus.

-Paul W.
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Re: Any one tried corked treatments ?

by Steve Slatcher » Sat May 18, 2013 4:59 am

Paul - I am not sure exactly how you inserted the wrap, but crumpling might not be good. The goal should be to increase the area of contact between wine and plastic. Rolling would be better I should think, or the bowl techinque mentioned above.
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