Cork Taint and Sparkling Wine

I just returned a bottle of Cava after detecting cork taint but the manager informed me, rather callously, that sparkling wine that undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle "simply can not" be affected.

This has never come up iny studies and I was sure that all wines with corks could be affected - what's the real deal?


  • I think that manager might not understand what Cork Taint is. Fermentation has zilch to do with TCA. 

    Karen MacNeil mentioned this exact topic in this week's Wine Speed email:

    Sparkling wines and Champagnes cannot become corked.

    Answer: False. Popular misconception has it that sparkling wines and Champagnes cannot be corked because carbonation inhibits the formation of trichloroanisole (TCA). However, this is not the case. Sparklers can be tainted with TCA, and they can take on the telltale odor that makes wine smell like a wet dog sitting on moldy newspapers in a damp cellar. In fact, according to the French consulting oenologist and TCA expert, Dr. Pascal Chatonnet, TCA is actually easier to smell in sparkling than in still wines. The bubbles have the effect of volatizing the compound, making it smell more pronounced.
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