Favorite closure?

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Favorite closure?

Postby Craig Winchell » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:47 pm

Corks. screwcaps, alternate closures? They're having a great thread on the other forum, and screwcaps seem to be winning hands down. What alternatives to cork have you and acquaintances explored, and is there a reason to believe that the days of cork are numbered? Having tried coextruded"corks" with gross failure due to oxidation, I am more sceptical than the next guy that suitable alternative closures can be found. Marketers seem to value their cork as well. But will it be a brave, new world with no TCA problems, and no wine development problems? Are any of you at wit's end, like many on the other forum?
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Maurie Rosenberg » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:12 pm

According to some estimates 3% to 5% of all wine sealed with natural cork is affected to some extent. There has been a huge interest in alternate closures for years (decades) now. Winemakers almost unanimously condemn natural cork as product that belongs in the past. However the ritual pull, pop and pour would seem to be defining moments in an elegant tradition and there is a huge consumer reluctance to see anything but natural corks in a premium bottle of wine.

There are a number of logical, effective alternatives but they are repeatedly rejected by the marketplace.

L'chaim!

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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:43 pm

After having too much of their wine corked (by high-level Portuguese corks), a major Israeli winery recently switched thier entire production to synthetic corks. While I agree with our dearly departed curmudgeon that top-notch corks provide an additional layer of romanticism to wine drinking, thier allure is severely tempered by corked wine. While Maurie's numbers are indeed the industry standard, my own personal experience has been less than 1% of wines are corked (I have acquired - not tasted at tastings where corked wines being served happily by wineries is frighteningly more prevalent than one would think).

One interesting (and very attractive) closure is a glass top closure. Only kosher winery I know using that closure is the new Bat Shlomo winery. haven't tried thier wines yet, so I can't comment on the corks effect - but they are pretty (and might help alleviate the lack of romanticism brought on by screw caps and synthetic corks.
Last edited by Yossie Horwitz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Gabriel Geller » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:34 pm

Personally I like tradition. And while there's always a risk with a natural cork, there's nothing comparable than the ritual of opening a nice botle of wine with such a cork.

However, experiencing a wine that was badly corked or tainted by TCA never is a cheerful experience.

Whenever a customer experiences such an issue (happened 4 times only, twice with the same winery but different wines, more on that further on) I always replace the bottle, knowing also that the winery will give me a compensation (I'd replace it anyway of course). Here's the story: Some (very famous) winery I'd rather not name here (you'd be undoubtedly shocked and surprised!) wouldn't even accept the idea that their quite pricey wine could be affected by TCA or badly handled cork-wise, acting with such pretension and arrogance as if their wines were above the others in a way that they'd be immunized from such occurrence and thus refused to replace the bottle. :evil: I was so furious that I called up the winemaker/owner and threatened them in a way that calmed him down quite a bit.

However I wonder if such issue would occur with a super premium wine for an older yet still alive vintage if the winery would "wine up" and take responsibility. While I would always advise and explain the risk, most people don't take into consideration the risk they are taking when buying a bottle like that and would be likely not willing to assume their own responsibility in case the bottle they purchased at a significant cost went belly up due to a cork issue or simply because the wine was past its peak.

Tradition and risks...

Best,

GG
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:32 am

My own experience is closer to 10%. I always hated the idea that 1/10 of the bottles I sold were inferior, and yet the majority of purchasers would never know the difference. Some would know a bad wine when they tasted it, think the wine was bad, and probably would not purchase the wine again. Some would drink it, thinking that that was how the wine was supposed to taste, but in any case, I would feel I was cheating the consumer. Especially since very few of the bottles were returned. What other commodity would be prized by consumers if there was a 10% chance it was bad? None, I believe. And we shouldn't accept that from wine, either. But the alternatives have always, in the past, been less than satisfactory.
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Elie Poltorak » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:43 am

I'm with Yossie here. I find under 1% of wines I purchase that are sealed with premium corks have issues. (I too have experienced the merry pouring of badly corked wine at tastings, but those were not wines I stock up on.) The percentage used to be MUCH higher but in recent years, the corkmakers seem to have cleaned up their act and all but eradicated TCA. Contrary to what I've read online, I find much more issues with cheaper/composite corks. Most recently, I was HUGELY disappointed when Elchonon hand-delivered a bottle of Kinor Dovid's legendary sherry, and the bottle was severely corked i]despite having been bottled only a couple weeks previously!!![/i]. Apparently the cheap composite cork didn't form a good seal, as it was soaked almost through and through. I guess that caused significantly more TCA taint. That's not the first time I've experienced this with composite corks but never before on a $100 bottle :x Elchonon was kind enough to save his bottle of sherry, which I look forward to enjoying with him when I get back to Miami in a week and a half IY"H :D .
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Yehoshua Werth » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:52 pm

ZORK

This enclosure looks wonder-full

http://zorkclosures.com/
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Re: Favorite closure?

Postby Craig Winchell » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:00 pm

Zork? Terrible closures, from a winemaking perspective. They were, until recently, only able to be hand applied, and not easy to get on. Even if they guarded against O2 pickup, which I don't believe they do, hand labor is difficult and expensive, and Don Sebastiani is one of the few (and maybe the only one) with an automated applicator (which didn't exist as of a couple of years ago). Since the closure and capsule are one unit, and since the closure can theoretically be removed as it was put on, with the capsule intact (though more likely it would be removed in such a way as to indicate tampering), this would be useless as a closure for kosher wine, even mevushal.
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