Corked wine suppresses the nose's ability to smell





The findings of a new scientific study suggest corked wine is caused by a chemical compound called TCA, which ruins the sense of smell. Although it has long been associated with damaging a wine’s aroma, the results are the first to unveil the molecular mechanism of corked wine.

Researchers at Osaka University, Japan, claim the effects may not be down to TCA's own unpleasant odour, but the way it suppresses the sense of smell which subsequently strips the wine of its flavour resulting in the damp, musty, soggy fragrance of rotten cardboard widely associated with ‘corked’ wine.

A series of experiments involving 20 human participants showed the original odours of wines were reduced when they were contaminated by TCA.

Prof Hiroko Takeuchi, from the university's Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, told the BBC: "A major contaminant in corked wine is TCA.

"It has long been thought that TCA causes excitation of sensory cells to induce unpleasant sensation.

"However, our findings here show that TCA suppresses activity of sensory cells, we also speculate that this suppression may cause a musty smell that is a typical feature of corked wine."

He continued: "The present work shows that the reduction of quality found in foods and beverages is, at least in part, due to the generation of a suppressor, rather than the reduction of original flavour.

“TCA can be generated in any processes of sterilisation, storage, aging and transportation. After this finding, all people concerning these processes will pay attention to their roles in order to improve the quality of products."

While unpleasant to taste, cork taint is not harmful and the extent of the smell and the damage to how the wine tastes can depend on the drinker’s sensitivity to it.

The obviousness of the corked smell and taste depends both on the extent of the taint as well as the wine drinker’s sensitivity to it.
 
Main image by Barta IV 
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

16.09.15

BBQ Spatchcock Piri-Piri Chicken


Summer has come to a close and autumn is well and truly on its way. Blustering winds, cooler temperatures and swiftly shortening days mean it will soon be time to wrap up warm and to make the most of the wonderful autumn produce on offer. Time to say goodbye to those fresh, summer whites and replace them with the warmer, more robust reds frequently associated with colder temperatures.
26.08.15

What to drink with Fish Pie?


Fish Pie is a quintessentially British recipe. Easy to make and absolutely delicious, it is also a great dinner party dish - with a limited amount of last minute preparations needed it’s a winner in my book! However, where do you start when matching a fish pie with wine?
24.07.15

Five Ways to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew


For that moment when you find yourself without a corkscrew and unable to open that bottle of wine; here are five ways to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. Obviously, if you do have a corkscrew to hand, it is a lot easier to go down the more traditional route…



21.08.14

Debunking myths about Rosé with Mirabeau’s Stephen Cronk…

Provence is more than just a beautifully iconic region of meandering vineyards, sun-kissed medieval towns and the birth place of the Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Its also the spiritual epicentre of French rosé and a stunning ... read more


06.01.14

Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot top world's most widely grown varietals

Cabernet Sauvignon is the world's most widely grown grape variety, according to resarch from the University of Adelaide. read more


12.12.13

No Bull: Novel wine labels that cut to the chase

Grape varietals, regions, alcohol content, producers –wine labels can often be confusing collections of hard to pronounce words that are hard to recall and even harder for the uninitiated to determine what the wine tastes like. read more


12.12.13

American producer to release next vintage in cans

American based Union Wine Company will release the latest vintage of their Underwood range of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in cans instead of bottles. read more


18.10.13

The scratch and sniff wine book by Richard Betts

Master sommelier Richard Betts has released a “scratch and sniff” educational wine book that endeavours to make wine and its plethora of varied aromas easier to understand for novices. read more


02.10.13

Wine colour and glass shape determines how much you drink

A team of researchers from Iowa State and Cornell Universities have found that the shape of one’s wine glass and colour of wine can have an unintentional effect on how much you drink.  read more


03.09.13

Study claims a glass of wine a day could keep depression at bay

A Spanish study published in the BMC Medicine journal has found that drinking up to 15g of wine a day can reduces the risk of developing depression. read more


03.09.13

Bordeaux Harvest "Worst Since 1991"

The 2013 grape harvest in Bordeaux is predicted to be the smallest since 1991 due to the adverse weather conditions, according to the iconic region’s wine trade body.  read more


07.08.13

Wednesday, 6:53pm: Wine o’clock!

A new study carried out by beverage bottler Cobevco, claims that adults are most likely to reach for a bottle of wine at 6:53pm on Wednesday evening. read more


07.08.13

Self-chilling wine glasses

New self-chilling wine glass has been released that are capable of bringing your wine to the perfect temperature within minutes. read more


06.08.13

Hailstones 'the size of cricket balls' cause further damage to Bordeaux

One of Bordeaux's most important white wine growing regions, Entre-deux-Mers, has sustained serious damage after a huge hailstorm ripped through the region on Friday. read more


01.08.13

Dom Pérignon unveil 2003 vintage rosé in collaboration with artist Jeff Koons

Dom Pérignon have launched a limited edition gift box for their 2003 vintage rosé in collaboration with iconic American contemporary artist Jeff Koons. read more


31.07.13

Hostile weather wreaks havoc in Bordeaux and Champagne

A spate of serious storms has caused significant damage to some of the most iconic vineyards in Bordeaux and Champagne. read more


30.07.13

China agrees to discussions over EU wine dispute

China has taken a step back from imposing punitive tariffs on European wine producers after Beijing and Brussels agreed to end their trade dispute over levies on solar panels from China. read more


25.07.13

Burgundy’s vineyards ravaged by storms

Hailstorms in the prestigious wine growing region of Burgundy have caused “catastrophic” damage to this year’s crop, according to local winemakers. read more


25.07.13

Central London to welcome its first ever winery

Londoners will soon have the chance to make their own wine using premium French grapes without leaving Zone 1, thanks to the launch of central London’s first ever winery in November. read more


25.07.13

Shiraz dethroned as Halliday lauds Pinot Noir as Australia’s best wine

The 2010 Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir has been awarded wine of the year at the inaugural James Halliday Wine Companion Awards in Melbourne. read more


28.06.13

Wine and spirit sector feels the pinch as duty escalator bites

Total alcohol sales continue to fall according to the latest Wine and Spirit Trade Association market report, which shows the duty escalator continuing to impact negatively on the sector. read more


18.06.13

Beautiful photographs of mid-air wine spillage by Manon Wethly

Belgium-based photographer Manon Wethly has created a stunning series of photographs that capture various liquids in a state of mid-air spillage. read more


17.06.13

Reusable wine cork reopens closure debate

The Helix wine cork is endeavouring to finally end the lengthy debate over the merits of cork or screw-top wine by combining the two. read more


17.06.13

First AOC wine in a can released in France

They are famously averse to bottling wines with screw caps or rubber corks yet one winemaker in the Languedoc-Roussillon has broken one of France’s great winemaking taboos by releasing his latest vintage in cans. read more


06.06.13

French champagne confiscated by the Nazis heads to auction

Two bottles of Champagne apprehended during World War II by the Nazis that were subsequently ‘liberated’ by an RAF serviceman are to go to auction later this month. read more


05.06.13

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt's rosé wine sells-out in the UK

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's rosé wine has sold out in the UK within days of release at Berry Bros & Rudd. read more


04.06.13

Archaeological study unearths evidence of 2,500-year-old vintage

A chemical analysis of archaeological remains in the south of France has unearthed evidence that suggests wine was being produced there as early as the fifth century BC.  read more


29.05.13

Communion Wine crisis hits Catholic Church in Venezuela

The Catholic Church in Venezuela is running out of wine to celebrate Communion because of the nationwide shortages of basic supplies, according to the BBC.  read more


21.05.13

UK consumers seek better quality as sales of wine over £7 increase

According to the latest figures from market analysts Nielsen, the average price of a 75cl bottle of wine has increased to £5.11 on the back of escalating taxation, but UK consumers are increasingly opting to spend more on better quality ... read more


20.05.13

The Oscars of the wine world announces Trophy winners

Prestigious wine awards announce Trophy winners, with Australia and France coming out on top. read more


16.05.13

Beautiful Douro map by David Eley to be auctioned at Christie’s

A new map of the Douro Valley by English artist and author David Eley, will be auctioned alongside a 12 bottle vertical of Quinta do Noval from 1937 to 2003 by Christie’s this June. read more


09.05.13

Rosé wine sales continue to rise

According to market analysts Nielsen, rosé wine now accounts for a record one in eight bottles of wine bought in supermarkets and off-licences in Britain, which is considerably higher than the one in 40 recorded in 2000.  read more



Post a comment...