Archive for November, 2010


Not a bad dinner, as Thanksgivings go when you’re cooking at someone else’s house. In my mother-in-law’s kitchen I found a terrifically sharp knife, mirabile dictu, and we had enough time to go for a walk in the Jackson-Frazier Wetland and still have food on the table by late afternoon. On the downside, an inaccurate meat thermometer led to a slightly overcooked duck, and I broke the gravy, partly because the glass-top stove remains a pain in the ass to use. Worst of all, though, was that the Garagistes 2009 extended-maceration Cabernet Sauvignon, which tasted so good after the last press of 2010 just last week, was unmistakably corked.

I don’t know what my fellow Garagistes’ experience has been; I’ve come across only three or four corked bottles of our own wine that I can recall. A good record, given estimates of the prevalence of cork taint that generally run much higher, but a disappointment at a family gathering for which I’d brought one bottle. Even for a glass-half-corked kind of person, though, there’s sometimes an upside, and in this case it was that seated next to me was the chemist husband of my sister-in-law. We got to talking about corked wine, and he mentioned that he’d come across this article about recent advances in the Global War Against Taint. The short version is that the authors of a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have identified a microbe that produces 2-methoxy-3,5-dimethylpyrazine, or MDMP, one of the compounds principally associated with cork taint. As they say on the interblogs, read the whole thing—especially if you thought the culprit was just 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, or TCA, because boy are you behind the times.