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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Oswaldo Costa » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:58 pm

Though we've had this debate several times before, each incarnation seems to provide additional points. The focus of this discussion has been TCA, but premox has been a much bigger problem for me. Not only in my experience, but also in what it does to my buying & consumption: I hate that I won't allow myself to buy older white burgundy because I've been burned too many times. The failure rate is way over the percentages discussed above! I would like an enclosure, any enclosure, with the rate of oxygen ingress allowed by a "perfect" cork (surely known by the boffins at UC-Davis) without the risks of using a real cork. Even if such risk is brought down to 1%, why should I accept that if the technology already exists for a 0% enclosure failure rate? Just for the greater but fearful pleasure of hearing that pop? I prefer the smaller but fearless pleasure of hearing that scrunch.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Covert » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:03 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Hoke....

Just to be perfectly clear on this.....I will never fully die. I intend to leave an automated machine behind that will periodically post about my luddite/curmudgeonly/out-and-out-stubborn insistence on the good things of life.

And no fear, that automated machine, like me, will take pleasure in occasional exageration.

Best
Rogov


Daniel, I don't know if you would like to add obscurantist to your list. That's one I use for my self with regard to corks and screwy metal caps.

Covert
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:39 pm

Oswaldo Costa wrote:Though we've had this debate several times before, each incarnation seems to provide additional points. The focus of this discussion has been TCA, but premox has been a much bigger problem for me. Not only in my experience, but also in what it does to my buying & consumption: I hate that I won't allow myself to buy older white burgundy because I've been burned too many times. The failure rate is way over the percentages discussed above! I would like an enclosure, any enclosure, with the rate of oxygen ingress allowed by a "perfect" cork (surely known by the boffins at UC-Davis) without the risks of using a real cork. Even if such risk is brought down to 1%, why should I accept that if the technology already exists for a 0% enclosure failure rate? Just for the greater but fearful pleasure of hearing that pop? I prefer the smaller but fearless pleasure of hearing that scrunch.


But Oswaldo the problem with premox is that the closure may not be the villain of the piece - at least as far as white burgundy is concerned.

Unlike TCA where cork has always been implicated, premox [large numbers of prematurely oxidised white burgundies from the mid 90s vintages] is a relatively recent phenomenon.

A much better candidate is reduced SO2 usage by winemakers along with other changes to winemaking, some geared to producing an earlier maturing wine for all those who don't want to wait for their 1er and Grand Cru burgundies. Of course changes made to cork treatments for bottling: use of hydrogen peroxide instead of hypochlorite [for TCA reasons] for cleaning purposes and silicone being used instead of, or on top of, paraffin treatments might also be implicated but presumably that could easily be fixed - unlike TCA.

If screwcapped white burgundy allows the wine to age as it used to under cork, well and good but I don't think anyone has shown that to be the case but having just opened two 1er cru 02 Chassagne Montrachets - a Chenevottes and a Chaumees from top producers - that were pox'd, I would be certainly willing to try some if available.

On the other hand I have followed the premox issue for the past 4 years and despite consuming a large amount of white burgundy in our family we have had very few problems – unlike many others including you I assume. For example we are still drinking Village wines [Maconnais, Cote Chalonnaise, Cote d’Or] and 1er Cru [mainly Santenay and St. Aubin] wines from 2000 and 2001 without problems and these two recent 2002 failures were in good shape a year ago. Of course you might like your white burgundy considerably older.

We tend to drink our white burgundies relatively young starting at 4 years for 1er cru and 6 for GC and usually finish them by 8-10 which might explain our good fortune in recent years although these 02s from V&F Jouard and Chateau de la Maltroye haven’t managed to last more than 5 years in the bottle. Of course if we had finished the cases when we started them last Christmas we wouldn’t have had a problem since they were fine then.

The pox is a really different story from TCA where cork is squarely in the firing line. And even if cork is finally shown to be a part of the premox problem [and that has not been proved, with other causes as the prime suspects] it should then be possible to effect a rapid cure.

But then of course you would need to look again at TCA performance.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Victorwine » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:53 am

Yes we can jump all over the cork and blame it for all the prematurely-oxidized White Burgundies of the mid 1990’s. But like Nigel said one must also look at the winemaking techniques used to produce it. Reduced SO2 usage definitely was a contributing factor. Just think of the winemaking techniques used to produce White Burgundies and the French term élevage. Even though there is no direct equivalent in English, think of it as a progression of wine between alcoholic fermentation and bottling, a wine’s “up-bringing” or “education” if you will. The élevage attributes contribute greatly to the characteristics of a White Burgundy, the young and raw fermented wine is shaped during this period into something resembling the “final” wine. Traditional this period involved, barrel aging (natural micro-oxygenation), sur lie (sitting on its lees), and battonage (stirring of the lees). Besides the intake of oxygen through the barrel the act of battonage (stirring of the lees) actually increases the wine’s oxygen intake. So basically during this time the wine is ‘living” off of oxygen while sitting on its lees.

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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Hoke » Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:33 am

Covert wrote:
Daniel Rogov wrote:Hoke....

Just to be perfectly clear on this.....I will never fully die. I intend to leave an automated machine behind that will periodically post about my luddite/curmudgeonly/out-and-out-stubborn insistence on the good things of life.

And no fear, that automated machine, like me, will take pleasure in occasional exageration.

Best
Rogov


Daniel, I don't know if you would like to add obscurantist to your list. That's one I use for my self with regard to corks and screwy metal caps.

Covert


From an immediately handy thesaurus:

Main Entry: obscure
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: not easily understood
Synonyms: abstruse, ambiguous, arcane, clear as mud, complicated, concealed, confusing, cryptic, dark, deep, dim, doubtful, enigmatic, enigmatical, esoteric, far-out, hazy, hidden, illegible, illogical, impenetrable, incomprehensible, inconceivable, incredible, indecisive, indefinite, indeterminate, indistinct, inexplicable, inscrutable, insoluble, intricate, involved, mysterious, occult, opaque, recondite, unaccountable, unbelievable, unclear, undefined, unfathomable, unintelligible, vague
Antonyms: apparent, clear, explicit, obvious, perceptible, understood
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:42 am

Covert wrote:...Daniel, I don't know if you would like to add obscurantist to your list. That's one I use for my self with regard to corks and screwy metal caps.


With thanks to Hoke for his use of the thesaurus and to Bob Dylan for saying it for me:

...it ain't me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

Me, obscure on screwcaps? Never. Stubborn, bull-headed, perverse and obstructionist, perhaps. But not at all obscure. 8)

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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Oswaldo Costa » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:23 am

Nigel and Victor, thanks for your elucidating posts, I was under the impression that premox in the 1990s (my period of pain) was the result of more porous than usual, or otherwise permissive corks. Reduced use of sulfites would certainly do the trick, although we recently discussed, in another thread, how that would not necessarily follow under antiseptic winemaking (rarely the case).

Perhaps the point still stands that if we could develop an enclosure with steady and correct oxygen ingress, surely not an impossibility, why should we accept even a 1% failure rate for the sake of that popping sensation?
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:02 am

Well Hoke, let me in turn thank you for your second and subsequent post and for their tone and content. My main problem with your first post was that you provided none of the rationale that your second does and it did indeed, now you suggest it, read rather like emotion and belief without, necessarily, an understanding of all the issues. However I don’t think I actually accused you of [to use your words] “emotion or clouded judgement”.

Let me now in turn respond to some of the specifics you have provided; again in the spirit of open discussion rather than rejection. However I don't think it was unfair to characterise your post as claiming that the screwcap was the ultimate closure - end of story. At least that's how it read to me and I am not sure the conclusion to your second post changes that although your response to Victorwine might at least open the door to alternatives.

My main points outside the specifics and examples are firstly that unresolved issues remain i.e. it isn’t [yet], as you seem to suggest, a matter of simply adjusting winemaking to the closure. And even if it was most don’t [yet] appear to know how to do it.

Experts like Alan Limmer apparently don't believe that the means to do that, and unfailingly avoid the original problems re-appearing or alternatively, introducing a new set of attendant side effects, are as understood as you suggest. As a chemist I can follow his and others’ reasoning in their papers although I doubt that is a necessary qualification. For every solution proposed there are attendant negatives and they all require their own chemical inputs to counteract each negative side effect.

Secondly, IMO, the aging issue cannot be dismissed at this stage although perhaps, having conceded that not everything is known, you are simply saying that you would prefer to take the risk than to stay with cork. However you haven't indicated how many of your wines are long term agers.

Thirdly, that most winemakers making the best ageworthy wines are apparently still unwilling, based on the available evidence and concerns about market acceptance, to take that risk.

I also mentioned the excess of TDN in some Australian Rieslings that has been found under screwcap. I assume you don’t have that problem with your Rieslings and would be interested in how you avoid it or if you feel it is a function of differences of location. It would also be interesting to know what liner is used in your screwcaps and whether you use copperfining at all.

As regards the “egregious sulphur dosing” of Rieslings that is surely not simply a matter of cork versus screwcap since, if I understand correctly, SO2 is not just used to avoid oxidation issues; at least with the classical, high RS versions. Perhaps you meant something else?

In any case it perhaps begs the question re ‘flavour scalping’ when you compare copperfining “done carefully and moderately” with “egregious” sulphur dosing. How about ‘egregious copperfining’ compared with sulphur dosing ‘done carefully and moderately’ – although hopefully not so ‘moderately’ as to cause premature oxidation.

My point was that copperfining is being used increasingly to avoid reduction odours under screwcap and the concerns there are multifarious: firstly copperfining cannot deal with all sulphur issues and because of the reversibility of the mercaptan/disulphide state the more odorous mercaptans can reappear in a reduced environment. In addition while removing some of the nasties some of the ‘good’, aroma-positive sulphur products are ‘scalped’.

Beyond that there is the possibility of extra copper in wine which is not desirable or ‘natural’ or that when, following yet another chemical intervention like ‘bluefining’ with potassium ferrocyanide to remove excess copper, further potentially dangerous residues can result. Of course ‘careful, expert’ winemaking should mitigate such issues but they remain a threat in the generality of all the extra intervention now being undertaken to make wine ‘screwcap worthy’. The AWRI have reported a dramatic increase in the addition of copper prior to bottling and in resultant bluefining requirements based on requests made of them.

However carefully these prophylactic steps are undertaken they are increasingly removed from the concept of ‘natural’ wine and introduce new potential failure points. It is surely significant that Brian Croser, one of Australia’s great winemakers [and the man who apparently introduced copperfining to Australia] uses it ‘less and less in his own winemaking’. Croser and others, even in screwcap-committed Australia and New Zealand, are also sceptical about the screwcap as an all-round closure choice.

In addition there are European and US regulations concerning maximum permissible levels of copper in wine whereas New Zealand and Australia have reportedly removed their maximum level regulation and ceased routine testing for copper content – presumably because they do not believe that it poses a risk to health. One assumes that exports to Europe and the US will be tested because there is already one instance of a rejection by European [German IIRC] authorities of a New Zealand shipment on the grounds of excessive copper.

As regards frustration and anger against the previous failures of the cork industry I agree when you say that “it would be rather silly to make decisions based on that”. However there are participants elsewhere, in threads such as these, who cite that as a major part of their rationale. Clearly you do not although that is only obvious from your second post.

You say that you “base your decision on your belief that screwcaps are the best existing closure for wine. Whether long or short term. Whether white or red. I am aware of much (though I will freely admit, not all) of the research and the data, and have weighed the pros and cons.” Of course there is nothing wrong with belief but I wonder where the evidence comes from for the belief concerning the long term aging of wine, particularly red wine, under screwcap. The only references I have seen [perhaps you have more?] are very limited and certainly haven’t convinced the vast majority of winemakers – even those that already bottle some of their wines under screwcap.

Of course the screwcap might work well but there are sufficient unproven aspects including the impact of liner choice for a decision to bottle top ageworthy reds under screwcap to be considered risky. OTOH what has been done at Pichon Baron and reportedly will be for Forts de Latour plus Penfolds’ experiments and existing red wine practices will ultimately provide some solid reference points. More is needed IMO.

We agree that George Taber’s book is an excellent reference but extended and updated references by the main protagonists mentioned in the book also provide considerably greater detail.

You recognise that the Diamant process appears to have resolved the TCA issue in this manufactured cork product but then go on to say “it does not necessarily address the other closure concerns, and thus provides no advantage over screwcaps”. Of course DIAM would claim that it does by offering two levels of oxtrans but perhaps it would be fair to say that both the screwcap and DIAM have yet to prove themselves in the long term aging stakes. Interestingly I have not read of DIAM being accused of reduction on a generalised basis although, as we know, reduction can be experienced under cork – just not with the frequency or intensity of screwcaps.

Meanwhile natural cork had better keep up the research and testing to provide an essentially TCA free closure otherwise the continuing advance of manufactured closures, including their cork cousins like DIAM, will be maintained.

I apologise for the length of this post and for repetition.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Covert » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:37 am

Daniel Rogov wrote:With thanks to Hoke for his use of the thesaurus and to Bob Dylan for saying it for me:


First I was of course joking, and secondly, I was using the term in the first sense in the Webster dictionary: depreciation of or positive opposition to enlightenment or spread of knowledge. All the stuff that Hoke said is found trailing the first sense. If you take nearly every word and look at all the potential synonyms for it, you will see many that do not apply to your subject. What I do - and I'm not suggesting you or Hoke do it - is take the relevant one, if I can. I think it is a charming, little self-deprecating term for me (not you - as you protested - or Hoke) to explain why I would prefer something as wretched and ancient as a cork, when so much scientific evidence supports getting rid of it for something technologically forward. The truer reason I prefer a cork, which includes non-rational as well as rational consideration, is not amenable to most people's frames of reference, so I provide a cute answer to most folks that challenge me on it. It allows them to be right, and quickly puts an end to the discussion.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Hoke » Mon Dec 15, 2008 4:38 pm

Nigel, I'm enjoying this discussion and interchange, but I do so wish you would not put words in my mouth that I did not say.

As an example:

However I don't think it was unfair to characterise your post as claiming that the screwcap was the ultimate closure - end of story. At least that's how it read to me and I am not sure the conclusion to your second post changes that although your response to Victorwine might at least open the door to alternatives.


Actually, I think it was unfair, Nigel. I did not say that. You may have "interpreted" it that way, but since you and I both speak and write English, I prefer you to take what I wrote, not what you think I wrote, or would like to believe I wrote.

And what did I write?

I believe the screwcap has established enough momentum, and provided enough advantages, as to convince producers their product is better under screwcaps than under cork (or other alternatives).

2. Screwcaps create a better, more consistent, more long term reliable seal to the precious commodity inside.
[selfishly edited for previously poor spelling]

That is very, very far from saying anything approaching an "ultimate closure...end of story". If you're going to disagree with me---and it's perfectly fine if you do---I would ask that you constrain yourself to disagreeing with what I actually said. For the record, if I had to write that all over again, I would insert a "many" before producers...since many have, but many haven't.

Rather than go through a line by line, item by item, response, which can be tedious to you, me, and most of all a casual reader, Nigel, I will simply say that my experiences, my involvement, my interaction, my gleaning of information, my tasting, my discussions with winemakers that I respect, have all been carefully weighed in my mind, and the conclusion that I reached is that screwcaps, at this point, are a superior closure to cork.

You may come to a different conclusion. You may also straddle the fence of not having enough information or knowledge to make up your own mind about this issue, at this point. That is perfectly valid, to me. I am not interested in changing your mind, or hurrying any decision on your part; in fact, you make some intriguing points that I will follow up on. We apparently approach this from two different points, however: you seem to be saying that we shouldn't be making any changes until all the information is in and there is not a shadow of a doubt that screwcaps are in every way preferable to cork (status quo); whereas my approach is that all the information will never be in, there will always be pros and cons to be waged, and it is incumbent upon me to decide---for myself---which is my preferred closure. And I have made that decision. For now. I see no particular reason to cling to an outmoded form of closure that has a proven failure rate, when something else is available and I am satisfied with it.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:08 pm

Hoke, that's fine but you haven't answered any the specific questions I put to you to about e.g. the type of liner in your screwcaps, or TDN in your Rieslings or copperfining or whether you have any long aging wines etc. Of course that's ok too.

Part of my problem may be that I had thought when you mentioned “my company's winemakers and production/qc people” that you were actually involved in making wines like e.g. Brian Loring with whom I have discussed these issues in similar threads. I can see that I missed your comment where you said to Victor that you are not a winemaker so perhaps you cannot answer these questions.

But what did you write? The comments you highlight were in your first post which was to Peter.

I believe the screwcap has established enough momentum, and provided enough advantages, as to convince producers their product is better under screwcaps than under cork (or other alternatives).

2. Screwcaps create a better, more consistent, more long term reliable seal to the precious commodity inside.


But don’t forget you went on to finish that second piece with

It is more respectful of the wine, the producer, and the investor/consumer. It is also, in my view, a more ethical closure.


Importantly in forming my interpretation you also said when responding to my post that:

I base my decision on my belief that screwcaps are the best existing closure for wine. Whether long or short term. Whether white or red.
Pretty emphatic surely.

As for misrepresenting you I think not, so we will just have to let others judge that but perhaps you might actually allow me to say how it appeared to me – and then simply qualify what you meant.

I did not use quotes to suggest they were your words and I qualified my comments with the words "I don't think it was unfair to characterise" and said "At least that's how it read to me" as well as putting it in the context of your first post that made no attempt to explain your first emphatic statements. Anyone reading my words should have been clear that I was describing my impression and they could make up their own mind having read yours. I also accepted you had opened the door with your post to Victorwine.

Yup I "interpreted" [as you say] it that way and IMO it is irrational to ask me to "take what you wrote" when I have already described it as my interpretation "of what you wrote" - unless of course you believe I was being disingenuous or have a defective understanding of the English language. Frankly your wish to insert the word 'many' before 'producers' sort of makes my point.

It would indeed be fairer to say that whatever your belief about the efficacy of screwcaps in all cases ‘most’ winemakers do not choose it as their closure and indeed very few bottle their premium long-aging reds under anything other than cork. Even Brian Loring [a screwcap winemaker] said he would still bottle long aging reds [if he made them] under cork until the picture was clearer.

Now my turn. I don’t follow your rationale for saying that I “seem to be saying that we shouldn't be making any changes until all the information is in and there is not a shadow of a doubt [/b]that screwcaps [b]are in every way preferable to cork”. [my bold]

How does that square with my very first post where I talked positively about what Pichon Baron [and now Latour] have done with screwcaps. And even the modest Bordeaux rose that my wife enjoys. I later referred to Penfold’s premium red bottlings under screwcap including tests on Grange itself.

Now I in turn have complained enough about misrepresentation and it would be a pity to end this dialogue with such whingeing.

As I said at the beginning I stand in the middle of this debate convinced that there is no single type of closure that should sensibly be deployed for all sorts of wine “Whether long or short term. Whether white or red”. This is not because I wish to sit on the fence or “not having enough information or knowledge to make up my own mind about this issue, at this point”. The extensive and constantly sought information from all sides of the argument persuade me that this is a logical position while all competing closures continue to be improved, researched and tested and all have significant cons as well as their pros.

I am for the development of all types of closures that have been shown to have positive attributes even if they are not yet perfected. I already have most of them [for red, white and rose but no Champagne] in my cellar although the huge majority of my wines are still under cork. This is not a function of closure choice but the fact that the vast majority of wines we drink are still produced under cork. I would be happy to be offered a choice but I would still like there to be a choice.

There is no wine that I would not buy simply because of its closure although at this stage I would not buy large quantities of long aging wines under screwcap although I have bought some of the very few already available.

Finally if you asked me to guess, I would say that if all vectors continue to shift in the their current directions no one closure is going to be able to capture the entire market for all the different wines made across the world in the near or medium term. And in the long term we are all dead. I believe I will be long before the issue is finalised.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Hoke » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:10 pm

Nigel, I believe we have reached the stage where we are talking past each other, since we apparently see some things very differently. That's fine; it happens.

I agree pretty much with your closing comments in your last post.

Like you, I do not rule out purchasing wines simply because of the selected closure. Unlike you, I am more convinced that the screwcap provides me with more assurance of my consuming the wine I purchased (or, as a very good friend, and winemaker, said about putting his wines under screwcap: "I invest a good part of my life and my soul in this wine, and this cap gives me the assurance that the wine I made is the wine the buyer will taste.") You need more assurance than I, that's all.

I am perfectly happy to see any number of closures out in the marketplace. I certainly have no wish to deprive Daniel or Covert of their pleasures, whether curmudgeonly or obscurantist; I understand the comfort of sucking on one's thumb, as well as the romance of having a familiar blanky or cork. though I need neither for my own enjoyment of wine. :lol: Let a thousand closures bloom.

And let the market decide. It will anyway. And you're right, Nigel: no doubt this debate will ensue long after you and I have tramped off.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Graeme Gee » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:41 pm

Like a moth to the flame...
But,
Hoke wrote: We apparently approach this from two different points, however: you seem to be saying that we shouldn't be making any changes until all the information is in and there is not a shadow of a doubt that screwcaps are in every way preferable to cork (status quo); whereas my approach is that all the information will never be in, there will always be pros and cons to be waged, and it is incumbent upon me to decide---for myself---which is my preferred closure. And I have made that decision. For now. I see no particular reason to cling to an outmoded form of closure that has a proven failure rate, when something else is available and I am satisfied with it.

Think of me as standing half a step behind Hoke, echoing every syllable; but the above phrase puts it most succinctly of all.
cheers,
Graeme
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:30 am

Graeme Gee wrote:Like a moth to the flame...
But,
Hoke wrote: We apparently approach this from two different points, however: you seem to be saying that we shouldn't be making any changes until all the information is in and there is not a shadow of a doubt that screwcaps are in every way preferable to cork (status quo); whereas my approach is that all the information will never be in, there will always be pros and cons to be waged, and it is incumbent upon me to decide---for myself---which is my preferred closure. And I have made that decision. For now. I see no particular reason to cling to an outmoded form of closure that has a proven failure rate, when something else is available and I am satisfied with it.

Think of me as standing half a step behind Hoke, echoing every syllable; but the above phrase puts it most succinctly of all.
cheers,
Graeme


Well Graeme it's hardly surprising bearing in mind previous dialogues :mrgreen: but bearing in mind those and this thread, assuming you read it, you will know that what you quote above is not my position concerning the acceptance of change as I carefully sought to remind Hoke - and you previously.

Perhaps you should have begun the quote at …”my approach is that all the information will never be in…..”

My 'problem' in these, usually very polarised, debates is the across the board certainty expressed by both sides concerning a single preferred closure for all wine for all purposes at this time and an apparent unwillingness to discuss specific issues.

Particularly in what is, from a physical and chemical viewpoint, a far from certain reality regarding such issues - which I have referenced and tried to elucidate using the latest information from professional bodies, expert wine makers and scientists. Most are never responded to or simply ignored or pushed aside with a remark like ‘I believe they are exaggerated’ with no attempt at explanation or scientific rebuttal.

However it is scarcely a matter of great importance although it does take on an almost religious intensity from time to time where facts, limited as they are for certain issues, appear [to me] to be ignored or only accepted when they conform to a predetermined view.

However despite various claims of misrepresentation and a general agreement to agree that we have different viewpoints, Hoke "agrees pretty much with my closing comments in my previous post" so can I assume "standing half a step behind Hoke" that you do too?

BTW you may recall an earlier thread in another place where the claim was made [not by you but you joined the argument] that Grange was available under screwcap. I have the following response from Penfolds:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Penfolds.
There is no Grange under screwcap and we have no intention of changing over from cork at this point in time.
All Penfolds white wines are now bottled under screw-cap, as is a wide range of our premium red wines. Many of our premium reds (including RWT, Bin 707, St Henri and Bin 389) are bottled under both cork and screw-cap - the availability of which is market dependent. I don't have exact percentages as it varies from wine to wine and from market to market.
Please contact us again should you have any further queries we can assist you with.”


This seems to illustrate a pretty balanced view from a committed-to-screwcap winemaker which still recognises the realities including the uncertainties at this stage in the closure debate.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:43 am

Nigel Groundwater wrote:
BTW you may recall an earlier thread in another place where the claim was made [not by you but you joined the argument] that Grange was available under screwcap. I have the following response from Penfolds:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Penfolds.
There is no Grange under screwcap and we have no intention of changing over from cork at this point in time.
All Penfolds white wines are now bottled under screw-cap, as is a wide range of our premium red wines. Many of our premium reds (including RWT, Bin 707, St Henri and Bin 389) are bottled under both cork and screw-cap - the availability of which is market dependent. I don't have exact percentages as it varies from wine to wine and from market to market.
Please contact us again should you have any further queries we can assist you with.”


This seems to illustrate a pretty balanced view from a committed-to-screwcap winemaker which still recognises the realities including the uncertainties at this stage in the closure debate.


I would disagree with your interpretation of the Penfolds e-mail. Several of the wines where a screwcap is used for some of the production (RWT, Bin 707) are long aging red wines. I am more inclined to believe that the decision is marketing/market acceptance-based & has little to do with uncertainties over the quality of screw caps as a closure.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Robin Garr » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:47 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I would disagree with your interpretation of the Penfolds e-mail. Several of the wines where a screwcap is used for some of the production (RWT, Bin 707) are long aging red wines. I am more inclined to believe that the decision is marketing/market acceptance-based & has little to do with uncertainties over the quality of screw caps as a closure.

I would stand behind you echoing this analysis, and I'm not even really a strong anti-cork type, more of a Via Media type. I think Penfolds reasoning is obvious and has much more to do with the image of Grange than its scientists' opinions about ageworthiness under cork or screwcap.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:52 am

David M. Bueker wrote:
Nigel Groundwater wrote:I would disagree with your interpretation of the Penfolds e-mail. Several of the wines where a screwcap is used for some of the production (RWT, Bin 707) are long aging red wines. I am more inclined to believe that the decision is marketing/market acceptance-based & has little to do with uncertainties over the quality of screw caps as a closure.


Come on David do you think I didn't know that RWT and Bin 707 are ageworthy reds both of which I have - under cork incidentally although I would have bought some screwcaps had they been available in the UK. In fact the 707 IMO definitely needs time [my youngest is the 98] for the prominent oak to integrate. I specifically mentioned [positively] that Penfolds had bottled such reds in earlier posts in this thread.

I wasn't making a 'religious' point simply pointing out that a previous claim [actually in your eBob thread] was simply wrong.
Grange is not, as was claimed, available or about to be available under screwcap.

And I don't doubt Penfolds general commitment to screwcap. You might have noticed my designation 'committed-to-screwcap winemaker' in the post you are challenging for some reason.

As for your 'inclination to believe' it is of course entirely consistent with your mindset but doesn't necessarily follow from the pretty categorical Penfolds statement.

Graeme Gee will tell you that market-acceptance is not an issue anymore Down Under and even if he is wrong, why do you thing Penfolds haven't followed through yet with Grange and at least bottled it under both closures for sale? Do you imagine that Grange is sold into entirely different markets from the others or that none is sold in Australia?

And, finally, as someone who stands in the middle [but is getting used to both sides assuming I am in the other camp] why do you assume that my closing statement excluded the real issue of market acceptance or even the possibility that such market sentiment might have something to do with reasonable uncertainty. Unless of course you think the majority of wine producers are ignorant and unable to understand the real issues along with their customers.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:57 am

Nigel,

Maybe it's because you are always ableto change your interpretation to make anyone who questions you clearly wrong in their analysis.

You put words in other peoples' mouths/posts, but if we do an analysis of your postings it's somehow disingenuous.

Debating with you is potentially illustrative, but generally annoying.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Nigel Groundwater » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:41 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Nigel,

Maybe it's because you are always ableto change your interpretation to make anyone who questions you clearly wrong in their analysis.

You put words in other peoples' mouths/posts, but if we do an analysis of your postings it's somehow disingenuous.

Debating with you is potentially illustrative, but generally annoying.


Well David debating with you, on this subject, is never illustrative because you make statements without supporting evidence and now you make accusations which you choose not to explain.

You challenged my simple statement. I explained why I think you are wrong both in assumption and fact. Where did I put words in your mouth or change my interpretation?

You seem to equate qualified interpretation with explanation as putting words in someone's mouth. How can one have a debate unless both sides understand what the other is saying? Sometimes that requires one party to 'interpret' what he thinks he is hearing and characterise it as best he can. If the other side doesn't recognise that [or does] the debate can move forward.

Do you mean I disagreed with you, questioned your rationale and provided the reasons?

Actually forget it because you have made this an argument about arguing which has as much value as your 2 contributions to this thread. Why not try and address the issues rather than the process and the personalities and try occasionally to provide some factual basis, ideally with some expert back-up?
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by David M. Bueker » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:58 am

Nigel,

There was a reason I stopped contributing to the eBob thread (boyond Mark's use of wikipedia as a primary source). Minds are not going to be changed in this debate for a long, long time. I am buying a number of screw capped wines (red and white) and evaluating them in my own cellar. So far, after 5 years on the oldest bottles that I personally own and control all signs are positive. I know that is not good enough for you. I also know that Tyson Steltzer (pardon the spelling) had some very useful information in his work, and George Taber does as well. They conflict. I am not even remotely shocked.

When I went to a tasting run by the American importer Neal Rosenthal, he flatly stated that he would never allow a screw cap on anything he imports. I asked why. He said that it destroyed the romance of the wine. I called bull**** on him (my quote "the romance is what's inside the bottle, not what's on top of it"). I am being asked to buy wine based on emotional arguments, so I fire back with my own. If the entire debate was purely science then I would follow suit. It's not, and my own puny little trials won't convince any one.

Honestly it's a pointless debate.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by David Glasser » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:13 pm

Bring on the screwcaps. Corks have had a good run, they were better than rags or pine resin, but their time is drawing to an end. Their faults are known, they are not acceptable (not just taint but individual variability and susceptibility to closure failure), and they are not likely to be eliminated to a satisfactory degree.

I could make the argument that Grange isn't bottled under screwcap because of the mystique, not because it's destined for aging. RWT is destined for long-term aging just as the Grange, and they bottle that both ways.

Thomas Duroux at Palmer told me in 2005 that, based on long-term (unpublished) studies in Burgundy (of all places!) he would go to screwcaps in a minute if it weren't for the public perception issues. Paul Pontailler, that same spring, was more cautious about long-term aging and said they would continue to study it at Margaux before committing to screw caps. Not everything that is known has been published.

I reject the argument that there hasn't been enough study of screwcaps for producers to start using them, even for long-term agers. There is no study that will satisfy the diehards - the only real proof for them will be in a 30-year-old screw-capped Palmer or Margaux, tasted blind against a cork-closed bottle. And even then, well, it still wont have the same feel and ceremony of cork. Let them rage against the night, but as more producers go to screw-caps, and as time passes, confidence will build. And even if there are a few mistakes or corrections along the way, screw-caps will eventually spread to higher-end wines meant for decades of aging.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Tim York » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:34 pm

David Glasser wrote:
I reject the argument that there hasn't been enough study of screwcaps for producers to start using them, even for long-term agers.


Please provide the evidence?
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Victorwine » Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:53 pm

Hoke wrote;
……..whereas my approach is that all the information will never be in,……

Why do you say this Hoke? Man is going to stop being man? For centuries man has been asking- How? Why? And When? We might not get to the “truth” but at least we will have a better understanding.

Salute
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Screw cap Bordeaux

by Hoke » Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:25 pm

Victorwine wrote:Hoke wrote;
……..whereas my approach is that all the information will never be in,……

Why do you say this Hoke? Man is going to stop being man? For centuries man has been asking- How? Why? And When? We might not get to the “truth” but at least we will have a better understanding.

Salute


Ah, but Victor, I can easily counter your statement with one word: Bush.
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