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Why smell the cork when you open a bottle in your family cellar?

Why should wine cellars be stuffed with oak?  First of all, aside from the screw cap, the oak stopper has the characteristics of softness and strong elasticity. It has many fine small holes. When it is used to seal the bottleneck, the oak swells when it contacts the wine, which plugs the bottleneck.  Gap to prevent liquor leakage.  At the same time, the liquor can also contact trace amounts of air through the micropores of the oak stopper to achieve the purpose of breathing and development, and continue to complete its maturation process after bottling.  In addition, the ingredients of the oak stopper are soaked in the wine, which will increase the structure of the wine.

Is it ok to use oak stoppers?  Oak corks have a good performance, but also have their fatal weaknesses.  The culprit is a chemical ingredient called TCA, which will bring the original pleasant wine with a discordant rotten wood smell, which is described in English as "corked".  About 2-3% of wines are contaminated, meaning that almost one bottle of every two cases of wine is contaminated.  It may not sound like much, but if you drink wine often, you may encounter 100 bottles of cork contaminated wine in your life.

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Why do you smell the oak stopper after opening the bottle?  After opening the bottle, take the cork and smell it. The reason is to check whether the wine is spoiled.


Look for odours in the oak corks.  Slightly contaminated oak corks, compounds may weaken the original flavor and aroma of wines. These wines have no floral and fruity aromas, and have a weak taste; people usually describe it as "moldy basement taste", "wet dog smell"  "Or" wet newspaper smell. "  In terms of taste, the fruity taste of the wine will be completely dilute, leaving a feeling of sourness.  The oak stopper has a strange smell, which means that the quality of the wine may be problematic. When trying it, don't make it too big, so as not to leave a smell in the mouth.

See how old the wine is.  To a certain extent, the degree to which the corks are soaked with wine can also indicate the age of the wine.  The higher the degree of cork dipped in wine, the longer the bottling of wine.  For some old vintage wines, corks have been very softened by wine dipping, sometimes the length of the dipping can reach more than half.  There are not too many dip colors on the corks, which means that the wine is bottled for a short time, and sometimes it means that the wine may not be stored properly.  For wines that are upright, the wine is completely separated from the corks, so that even if stored for a long time, the corks will not have much color.

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Looking at the ageing of wine from the cork, there is a good benefit: to distinguish the authenticity of the wine.  Sometimes some counterfeit old vintages are used as top-level old vintages, but the degree of impregnation of corks is very small, indicating that these old wines may be fake wines.


See how your wine is being kept.  If mildew appears on the surface of the cork, it means that the storage humidity of the wine is too high. At this time, it means that the storage humidity needs to be adjusted.  The optimal storage humidity of wine is between 60-70%. If it is too high, it will cause mold, and if it is too low, it will dry the wine and increase the probability of wine over-oxidation.  Sometimes the cork has flowed to the top. This phenomenon indicates that the wine has leaked, the quality has been damaged, and the wine may be broken.  This phenomenon mainly occurs because the gap between the cork and the bottle wall is large, and the air enters the wine to make the wine over-oxidize, which will accelerate the oxidative decomposition of tannins and polyphenols, so that the wine has a weak aroma , The acidity of the mouth is very prominent, and the structure is faint and tasteless.


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