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TCA and Plastic Wrap

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?

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      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. 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. 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"
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/399127

        2 Replies
        1. re: maria lorraine

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

          1. re: maria lorraine

            >>> 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. <<<

            +1

          2. 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

              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

                Well, happy belated birthday to your lovely lady!

                1. re: Caroline1

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