Wannabe sommeliers will likely tell you about corked wine and how it can affect the flavour of your plonk.
However, most of us have likely never experienced the taste of corked wine (particularly if you just go for a screw top).
Theres a misconception that corked wine has pieces of cork in it that have become dislodged, when actually the term refers to wine contaminated by cork taint – a chemical called TCA.
TCA comes about when the cork used in the wine has a certain type of natural funghi present that reacts with chlorine sterilisation products used in production.
Some wineries have stopped using chlorine altogether in the process to avoid wine becoming corked, which has gotten rid of the problem somewhat.
Youll know corked wine mostly by the taste, which most people describe as damp or soggy flavoured.
Although corked wine isnt at all harmful to drink, it does dull the taste of the wine, so some would see it as ruined.
It all depends on your taste sensitivity (and desire not to return to the shop for another bottle) as some people wont recognise a corked wine at all, while others can detect it from smell alone.
Some stats say that up to 8% of wines would be corked in the late 20th century, which is likely why screw tops have become much more popular.
Despite the fact processes have changed in wineries who use corks, its still unavoidable in some cases, since the funghi that causes it grows naturally.
Certain sellers – and even some restaurants – will allow you to return a corked bottle, so if youre investing in something fancy it might be worth checking beforehand.