You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Saturday 4 July 2015

Corked wine suppresses sense of smell

17th September, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

The presence of cork taint in wine shuts off signals from our noses to our brains, preventing the ability to detect other odours, Japanese scientists have found.

Corked-Wine1

As reported by the BBC, researchers at Osaka University have discovered that the suppression of our sense of smell by the chemical 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) leads drinkers to imaging “pseudo-olfactory sensations” such as the damp cloth and wet dog aromas traditionally associated with corked wine.

“It has long been thought that TCA causes excitation of sensory cells to induce unpleasant sensation,” professor Hiroko Takeuchi from the university’s Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences told the BBC.

“However, our findings show that TCA suppresses activity of sensory cells, we also speculate that this suppression may cause a musty smell that is a typical feature of corked wine,” he added.

The team was investigating how TCA functions by analysing how both newts and people responded to the chemical, publishing the report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study monitored the activity in the cells of newts exposed to TCA and found that rather than sparking odour perception, cork taint suppressed it.

A separate study measured how 20 participants reacted to the presence of cork taint in samples of wine, and found that aroma perception was reduced when TCA was present.

TCA suppresses the nose’s primary smelling receptor, which converts smells to electrical signals sent to the brain.

The study, which has implications beyond wine, found the brain interprets this reaction as an unpleasant odour.

“Our research shows that the reduction of quality found in foods and drinks is in part due to the generation of a suppressor, rather than the reduction of original flavour,” Takeuchi told the BBC.

The team wants to use the findings to develop ways to deliberately weaken the nose’s sense of smell in order to mask bad odours in certain products.

One Response to “Corked wine suppresses sense of smell”

  1. Kurt Burris says:

    Purely anecdotaly I had noticed that wines I suspected of being corked, but couldn’t really tell, tended to have a “muted” nose. The problem is I could only use this information in wines I knew well enough to remember past bottles. I guess that is one more reason to buy wine by the case…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Tour de l'Oc raises £30k for charity

Last month’s Tour de l’Oc bicycle challenge across France has raised over more...

Is Parker wrong about the 05 Médocs?

With no Médoc wines gaining 100-points in Robert Parker’s retrospective of more...

Pub landlord kills customer with ironing board

A pub landlord has been found guilty of killing a wealthy American customer by more...

Warehouse Supervisor

London, United Kingdom

£27,000-£30,000 depending on experience

Trend for UK casual dining on the rise

The UK restaurant market is entering an era of "premiumised informality" with more...

UK vineyards included in tax relief scheme

Winemakers in the UK will be able to benefit from income tax changes for the more...

Is fine wine turning a corner?

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index is finally showing a year-on-year gain as it more...

Social Media Editor

Competitive

US wine brand hopes to ape craft beer success

A wine brand from California is hoping to ape craft beer’s success in the UK more...

The week in pictures

Pub-friendly pooches, Kevin Spacey and a one-off tasting of Achaval Ferrer more...

Venezuela faces beer drought

Venezuela could soon entirely run out of beer as workers at the country's more...

UK Sales Manager

London, United Kingdom

Hong Kong: Red obsession

While whites are starting to be taken seriously in Hong Kong restaurants, the more...

Champagne needs to 'create a new occasion'

Champagne needs to "create a new occasion" and better communicate its brand if more...

Diageo 'shelves' £240m Chinese scheme

Swellfun, the Chinese subsidiary of drinks giant Diageo, has reportedly more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Molson Coors UK acquires Rekorderlig

Molson Coors UK has acquired the rights to Swedish cider Rekorderlig in the UK more...

Fine dining resto to serve wine on tap

Proving that the trend in the UK has spread beyond casual dining venues, fine more...

Coors Light heads home

Sometimes, the route to excellence is a process of devolution rather than more...

London Sales Manager / Key Account Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive - depending on skills and experience

Californian wine struggling with supply

There is a "growing mismatch" between supply and demand that is badly hampering more...

English fizz attracts new deal

English sparkling wine producer Jenkyn Place has stepped up its ambitions by more...

How to drink like a billionaire

With access to tropical islands, private yachts and the best food and drink more...

Global Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Competitive

The Proust Q&A: Darren Rathbone

The CEO and group chief winemaker of the Rathbone Group talks to db about more...

Copa América: Malbec vs Carmenère

Saturday sees Chile and Argentina go head-to-head in football’s Copa América more...