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TCA and Plastic Wrap

kaleokahu Feb 2, 2011 08:58 PM

Today was the wife's birthday (a big one), and so we decided to dine out at a nicer place. The sommelier graciously agreed to waive corkage in exchange for a bottle of my Supertuscan. So we took that and a bottle of 1993 V. Sattui Cabernet to which my wife had a big emotional commitment (irrelevant story, except I HAD to drink it).

The cork self-destructed on opening, and there was a moderate cork taint. I smiled and said nothing. Then I remembered reading about a trick involving Saran Wrap. At my request, I was provided with a piece of wrap from the kitchen, which I wadded and stuffed into a decanter. The bottle was decanted, and the wine swished a tiny bit. We kept half a glass of the original pour for comparison.

The result: a DRAMATIC improvement and diminishment of the cork taint. The trick saved the bottle, and THAT saved our celebratory meal.

What I had remembered from reading is that plastic wrap is chemically similar to TCA, and that the latter has an affinity for sticking to the former. I was skeptical before, but now I think there's something to this.

Has anyone else tried this "trick", and to what effect?

  1. goodhealthgourmet Feb 2, 2011 09:23 PM

    Has anyone else tried this "trick"
    not yet, but now that i know about it i certainly will if the need arises! thanks :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      sunshine842 Feb 2, 2011 09:39 PM

      Interesting - thanks for adding that.

      So far, we're pretty lucky to have had *very* few bottles that were corked, but it's nice to know there's a way to save them when they happen...since the corked ones never show up when you *don't* have company!

    2. s
      sedimental Feb 2, 2011 10:29 PM

      Yes, it is pretty neat! It mostly works on the smell though. Even if you get the smell out, the taste is often "off" if the taint was bad.

      I haven't had V Sattui wine for a long time! I really like many of their wines. I had a really neat experience at V Sattui once. We were Gold VIP members there for awhile several years ago. One of the staff was a bit of an "opera star" in the SF Opera. She was allowed to take us into the special VIP room and she sang A cappella to us while we sipped. It was a memorable experience. So, I am also emotionally attached to V Sattui wine :) Nice save!!!!

      1. maria lorraine Feb 2, 2011 11:17 PM

        I've tried it once, and it does work, but only to remove the nasty TCA/TBA smell. The fruit in the corked wine has already been scalped, and the plastic wrap will not restore it. The trick works because the molecule that causes cork taint -- 2,4,6-trichloroanisole -- is similar to the polyethylene in the film wrap and sticks to it.

        Another thread on this:
        "saran wrap and corked wine"

        2 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine
          kaleokahu Feb 3, 2011 08:32 AM

          Mea culpa. I actually did search for Saran and wrap before posting. Thanks for the link.

          1. re: maria lorraine
            zin1953 Feb 4, 2011 10:00 AM

            >>> I've tried it once, and it does work, but only to remove the nasty TCA/TBA smell. The fruit in the corked wine has already been scalped, and the plastic wrap will not restore it. <<<


          2. Caroline1 Feb 4, 2011 03:52 AM

            Sounds like the sommelier is thinking you're a genuis! Or, if he already knew about the trick, why didn't he do it?????

            3 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1
              kaleokahu Feb 4, 2011 08:24 AM

              Car: The regular sommelier was away that early in the evening, but a few servers came over and watched. This was a bottle I brought, the server had already broken the cork, and they'd waived the corkage, so I didn't want to be a pest (I save that for CH!). I'm just happy I remembered the trick.

              1. re: kaleokahu
                Caroline1 Feb 4, 2011 10:14 AM

                Well, happy belated birthday to your lovely lady!

                1. re: Caroline1
                  kaleokahu Feb 4, 2011 11:55 AM

                  Car: Thanks. We would have had a good time anyway, but it was even better that we salvaged her bottle.

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