Corked wine is more or less like a first bad experience at a sushi restaurant: it works as a repellent for future experiences since it can actually ruin the perception we have of the flavor of that drink or food.
Corked wine is caused by TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole). This compound is produced by a fungus that feeds on natural cork. This affects 2-3% of all wines bottled with cork and has been the biggest headache of the cork industry for ages.
A heavily corked wine may smell like a wet dog, a wet newspaper or a very humid and closed basement. How wonderful… When the levels are lower, you may not be able to sense these characteristic smells, but the wine may appear dull with a lack of aromas. Sometimes, however, a corked wine may not be easy to spot and, plus, it is harder to sniff out a corked red wine than a corked white wine.
At a restaurant or a bar, if you happen to be unlucky and you’re served a bottle of corked wine, you can absolutely send it back. If you ordered the wine online, save your receipts.
If you’re at home, well, it’s not going to be harmful to your health, but you know what they say: life is too short for bad wine. So, the best solution will probably be to open a fresh new bottle and enjoy it.