You don't have to be a licensed sommelier to know a spoiled bottle of wine from a perfectly good one, but many of us wouldn't know what a "corked" bottle smells like if it were staring us in the face. Here's how to identify when the bottle you've been served has seen better days.Photo by Lu.
There are a number of reasons why a wine may have spoiled. A "corked" bottle is one where the wine has been tainted by a bacteria called TCA that live in cork. Too much of it and it will definitely spoil an otherwise great bottle. You can tell if you have a corked bottle if you get an odour from it that smells like wet newspaper, or an old, musty basement.
Corked bottles aren't the only bad ones. If you smell strong sulfur, like rotten eggs or the smell of a freshly lit match, that's another good indication your wine hasn't been properly stored or has spoiled. You'll also want to keep an eye out for wine that smells like vinegar or nail polish remover, not that you would drink it anyway if it did. Those smells are the result of Volatile Acidity, another kind of spoilage due to bacteria.
Over at The Huffington Post, Mary Orlin shares these smells and a few others that you'll want to look for to make sure your wine is in good condition when it gets to your glass. Hit the link for the full list.
The Six Aromas You Don't Want to Smell in Your Wine [The Huffington Post]