Did you know that the reason the waiter presents one person at your table with a pour of wine, before continuing to pour both glasses, is that you are supposed to verify the wine is not bad? Okay – your average Joe doesn’t know that. Until about a year ago, I didn’t know that either. (If you did, you are apparently not your Average Joe.) I always thought it was to see if you approved of the wine, if it smelled good and/or swirled good.
Not so much.
That "pre-pour," as I call it, is your chance to see if the wine is "corked." A corked wine suffers from TCA, or cork taint, which basically leads to wine gone bad. TCA is why you’ll see more and more wineries, particularly the upstarts, using fake corks or even screwcaps. (We bought an excellent Chardonnay at Plumpjack last summer, and they gave us a choice: screwcap or cork. We chose screwcap.)
Anyway, it looks like technology is on the way to make that pre-pour easier on those of us without the sensitive nose required to sense TCA.
Electronic nose vapor sensors are printed arrays of transistors that
can detect ambient chemicals and odors and then alert a consumer if the
internal contents of a medicine bottle or bottle of wine have changed.
Thus, if acetic acid has begun to build, sensors will send a signal
that the wine is going sour before you inadvertently give it the thumbs
up at tasting.
If they can succeed at making these cheaply, they’ll have a very successful little product on their hands.
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