How to tell if a wine is faulty, or merely funky

With so many wine bottles now sealed with synthetic corkamorimcork How to tell if a wine is faulty, or merely funky
by Amorim Cork
s or screwcaps, you might assume the problem of faulty wines had been eradicated.

But, given the simultaneous growth in the popularity of low-sulphur “natural” wines, if anything things have actually got more complicated. Is a wine faulty or merely funky? And when do you have a right to send or take one back?

These days, bottles are rarely “corked” (infected by cork taint) – about 3%, compared with 20% 10 years ago, according to the UK’s largest distributor, Bibendum PLB – and it tends to be pretty obvious when they are: an unpleasant, musty or mouldy smell is a clear indicator that something is wrong. Slightly harder to call is when the wine merely tastes tired and flat, not as fresh or fruity as you remember, or slightly “cabbagey”, which is most likely due to the bottle having been displayed under hot bright lights. That can make it tougher to argue for a refund or a replacement, but it’s worth a try, especially if you know the wine well.