Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Natural Corks for wine can mold.... Screw Caps are trying to make a comeback!

Of course the Aussies and the Kiwis lead the way in Screw Cap technology!!!  Not just your regular screw cap but a you beaut new fangled ones that preserves wine really well.  I love this article and I cant remember where I got it from but feel free to use it especially now that we have 2 NZ scew top Sav. Blancs.  I usually always talk about how screw tops are making a comeback at my events and use excerpts from this article.  
Your sommelier ceremoniously pulls the cork on your bottle of wine. The aromas of violets or plums should fill the air, but you smell the unmistakable funky reek of mold. It's another "corked" wine! Isn't there a solution to this all too common problem? Well, as a matter of fact, there is. —Anthony Dias Blue

Tainted Goods
Three to five percent of all bottles with natural corks show some degree of spoilage. The culprit is trichloroanisole, commonly known as TCA. This complex chemical comes from reactions within corks, which involve natural molds and the chlorine bleach used in cork manufacture. This leads to an inescapable conclusion: Do not use corks.

An Artificial Solution
For the last decade or so, there have been plenty of cork substitutes on the market. Some wineries have converted their entire production to synthetic corks. There are Nomacorcs, Guardian Corks, Supreme Corqs, and NuKorks, among others available to wineries. Many vintners, from South Africa to France, use synthetic or agglomerate corks. So, the problem's solved, right? Unfortunately, it's not quite that easy.

The Trouble with Fakes
New technologies have greatly improved synthetic corks (Sabaté's new "Diamond" model, which benefits from a TCA-extraction process, is the best yet.). But there are still problems with other synthetic corks, especially the plastic ones. They're hard to pull, and if you like to re-cork a bottle and put it back in the fridge, they are even harder to get get back into the neck. Even good corkscrews have problems punching through the denser plastics, and using a two-pronged Ah-So is virtually impossible. If you consider it, the only reason to use a substitute cork is to preserve the ritual of pulling a stopper out of the wine bottle. Is the act of removing a cork such an essential part of the wine-drinking experience?

Get Over It!
The very best closure for wine has been around for years. It's easy to use, requires no tools, is airtight and easily resealable. What is this magical device? The screw cap, of course. "But wait!" you're saying. "Doesn't the slow passage of oxygen through a porous stopper help wines age and develop bottle bouquet?" That myth has been debunked. In fact, the screw cap makes the perfect wine closure — no taint, no oxidation, no problem. After all, if screw caps are good enough for $200 bottles of Scotch, why not for $20 bottles of wine?

Twisted Pleasures
The adventuresome New Zealand wine industry was the first to adopt screw caps en masse. Australia's Clare Valley producers are in, too. Market-conscious American wineries are still testing the treacherous waters of public opinion on the subject, bottling part of their lineup in screw cap, just to see. The high-end PlumpJack Winery put half its $145 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 in screw cap and found that the newfangled version sold out first. Its just-released Reserve Chardonnay 2003 ($44) is also available in screw cap. A few major American producers — including Pepi, Bonny Doon, and Hogue — have taken the plunge. Europeans are proving less receptive, but Gunderloch, in Germany, and Fortant, in France, are game. I'm betting that Château Mouton-Rothschild cannot be far behind.

Believe it or not, corkscrews could soon go the way of ice picks


  1. That was a very interesting article, Kalyn. Corks and screws have their advantages and disadvantages. Some traditionalist wine makers prefer corks over screw caps because it adds to the aesthetics of the package. But there is an issue of wine staining and spoilage when you are using corks, particularly the natural one. On the other hand, modern wine makers opt to use screw caps for better sealing and keeping the quality of wine for a long period, but they are less desirable than the cork. But I guess the choice would come down to the period of wine storage and how it affects the taste and quality of the wine.

    [Rob Feckler]