Wednesday, May 03, 2006

To cork, or not to cork?

It seems South African wines have the highest rate of corked wine in the world.

It also seems that South African consumers are not ready to accept screw-caps (and these are still associated with cheap or bad wine). The Vergelegen estate (recently named the best winery in the New World by Wine Enthusiast) tried to release their ultra-premium Sauvignon Blanc under srew cap, but had to switch back to cork after poor response from the public. Some restaurants even return any wine under screw cap...

Othering interesting bits from the article above:

  • Only 15% of Kiwi wine is closed with natural cork.
  • Domaine des Baumard is moving their entire production to screw cap.

Unrelated note: Domaine des Baumard's website seems to have been defaced at the time this was written.

3 comments:

::wendy:: said...

I remember some wine-buff explaining to me why only cork is good for the wine, something about flavour and breathing and stuff. My parents wouldn't drink out of a bottle with a cap or artificial 'cork'. I'm not sure I have sufficiently atuned taste-buds to really taste the difference....

Mark said...

Hmm... I dunno.
From reading and web research, it looks like the consensus is that a good closure should make a good seal, and not let any air into the wine. Letting air in (and SO2 out in the case of most white wines) will lead to oxidation (and browning of white wines).
Also, with traditional corks, you run the risk of the wine getting "tainted" with TCA. Synthetic closures avoid that risk.

More info: http://www.wineanorak.com/cork.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cork_taint

Mark said...

Domaine des Baumard's website is back to normal now. See http://www.baumard.fr/