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Peter May

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Resurgence of corkiness?

by Peter May » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:31 am

Earlier this year I was coming around to thinking the cork industry had cleaned up their act but I've had a rash of corked bottles in the past month, including a Schramsberg methode champenois in a restaurant, and I can recall having only one corked sparkling wine (a Champagne) before.

Any one else?
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Robin Garr

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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Robin Garr » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:34 am

To my distinct pleasure, I haven't had a corked wine in a long time, although in fairness I'm drinking a much greater proportion of screwcap wines than in the past, which delights me; and I'm spotting more Diams. At the same time, I'm seeing fewer synthetics, which is also good news since - sadly - they seem to trade freedom from taint for a discouragingly short shelf life.

It might not surprise me to see a resurgence of taint in a poor world economy, though. High-quality corks cost more, so when budgets are tight, it might be tempting to go back to cheaper brands with less quality control.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Brian Gilp » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:40 am

I have always had strings of corked bottles and then long stretches of nothing and then a string of corked bottles and the pattern continues. Thanks to cellar tracker I can tell you that regardless of how they come, my percentage of corked bottles to total opened remains at just under 2%.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Sam Platt » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:49 am

For the year I had only two corked wines. One was a German Riesling and the other was a Vihno Verde. Both were inexpensive wines.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by michael dietrich » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:33 pm

I am in the business and sell retail. Five years ago I was at about 10-11 %. I seem to be more sensitive than many. It has certainly gotten much better. After over 500 wines under Diam I am still at zero corked wines. I am now at about 4-5% under regular corks. I do not count stelvins in that number. I think that the cork industry has made some very good strides. For most wines I still prefer the stelvins.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Hoke » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:39 pm

I am quite happy to report that I haven't been experiencing an inordinate amount of taint, so no resurgence here---probably for the same reasons cited by Robin,

I believe there's less incidence as well as a lower degree, probably from the cork producers being forced to police themselves.

Was surprised and pleased to notice recently a farmhouse Champagne that had a Diam cork! First time I've seen that. It told me this was a producer who took every effort to ensure the purity of his wine.

Also echo Robin in the pleasure of seeing more screwcaps out there.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Craig Winchell » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:34 am

Diams are rated by the company for 2 to 10 years of wine preservation, depending upon model. Typically, wines are recorked every 20 years, if at all. Clearly, Diams are a marginal closure for ageable wine.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Peter May » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:52 am

Craig, isn't this the guarantee period offered by Diam's manufacturers, not a life expectancy

I must admit that the DIAM website seems light on details of the guarantee, but AFAIK 'traditional' cork closues are sold without any guarantee.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:39 pm

A corked 2004 Raveneau the other night had me cringing.

"typically wines are recorked every 20 years..." - really? By whom? Pretty much only the Bordeaux estates do much in the way of recorking, and that would put the 1990s right in your time frame. Lots of 1990 recorking going on?
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Victorwine » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:56 pm

Hi Peter,
I believe the only guarantee is “cork tradition without the risk of TCA” (the cork being the "source" of the TCA).

Salute
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Craig Winchell » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:16 pm

Peter, there are really no guarantees in life, or in cork, but intact natural cork is a well understood material. The thing that distinguishes Diam closures from others produced from "bits", aside from their CO2 treatment, is their porosity rating for O2 permeability and transfer. They have corks rated from 2 to 10 years, based upon probability of oxidation. They make no claim that their O2 permeability approaches the rate of natural punched-and-finished cork.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Carl Eppig » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:40 pm

None it about two years, but only about 10-15% of our wines have natural corks.
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Personal rant

by Rahsaan » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:37 am

These days, what annoys me the most is the low-level taint that doesn't become apparent/confirmed for me until the meal is almost over. At which point it's too late for me to want to open another bottle but it also means the evening is ruined wine-wise for me.

What problems to have! :D

I suppose I could get better/faster about identifying TCA, but I'm just as happy not to run into it too often.

And a few years ago I was much quicker about opening a second bottle just to make sure I had something drinkable. But these days with my two year old permanent early alarm clock, I'm more reluctant to overload the evening with wine as I know about the sleeping constraints.
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Re: Personal rant

by Steve Slatcher » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:41 pm

Rahsaan wrote:These days, what annoys me the most is the low-level taint that doesn't become apparent/confirmed for me until the meal is almost over. At which point it's too late for me to want to open another bottle but it also means the evening is ruined wine-wise for me.

Me too. Except I think it has always been the case for me. If it is clearly corked you simply discard it (mentally at least), and move on.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:12 pm

Craig Winchell wrote:Peter, there are really no guarantees in life, or in cork, but intact natural cork is a well understood material. The thing that distinguishes Diam closures from others produced from "bits", aside from their CO2 treatment, is their porosity rating for O2 permeability and transfer. They have corks rated from 2 to 10 years, based upon probability of oxidation. They make no claim that their O2 permeability approaches the rate of natural punched-and-finished cork.


Craig,

Are you saying that the permeability of bark cork is a good thing? I couldn't quite make this out.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Craig Winchell » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:05 pm

Oliver, cork permeability is neither good nor bad, in my opinion, it just is. It certainly seems to help promote certain kinds of chemical reactions in aging, and also seems to be a factor in oxidation under certain conditions. I was only saying that in the case of Diams, they have things down to the point that they assign different Diam corks to different types of wine, based upon the perceived ageability of the wine, and therefore how long one can expect that wine wine package will remain intact until drinking.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by JuliaB » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:37 am

Peter, you really struck a nerve with me! In the past month plus, I have had four corked wines! One a Tavel, one Mordoree, a Spanish and another at restaurant (that I returned) which I can't remember. Previously, I have dodged the tricholoanisole bullet, with only a few random hits hit and there. Soooo frustrating! :twisted: I'm succumbing to the screwcap siren song more and more.

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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:21 pm

Craig Winchell wrote:Oliver, cork permeability is neither good nor bad, in my opinion, it just is. It certainly seems to help promote certain kinds of chemical reactions in aging, and also seems to be a factor in oxidation under certain conditions. I was only saying that in the case of Diams, they have things down to the point that they assign different Diam corks to different types of wine, based upon the perceived ageability of the wine, and therefore how long one can expect that wine wine package will remain intact until drinking.


The problem with bark cork is that the permeability is so variable that it's not reliable.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Craig Winchell » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:40 am

I agree, Oliver, but what are the implications? The best natural corks are still better closures for long term aging than agglomerated corks, except for the TCA problem and fungal problems. Except for the TCA problem, there is little indication that a better closure exists at this time. Nor would we have been looking for one except for frustration with TCA. There was always frustration with natural corks for other reasons, but those reasons never led to a widespread search for an alternative.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:40 am

Craig Winchell wrote:They have corks rated from 2 to 10 years, based upon probability of oxidation. They make no claim that their O2 permeability approaches the rate of natural punched-and-finished cork.

Where did you find the time-based ratings, Craig? I could find none with google, and they are potentially important. But hard evidence might be a bit scanty at the moment - I don't think Diam closures have been available for 10 years yet, have they?

They do however quote permeability data. Diam 2, 3 & 5 closures are available in 2 permeabilities: 0.15 and 0.35 cm3 / day. Diam 10 & 15 are 0.07 cm3 / day.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Peter May » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:52 am

And again

Christmas Day

Veuve Cliquot NV corked !

Second corked sparkler in just over a month.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Craig Winchell » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:11 pm

Steve, cut and pasted from the G3 FAQ. G3 is the exclusive North American distributor of Diam:

"G3 Enterprises offers several DIAM still wine closures that are designed for different shelf-life (wine preservation)
time frames ranging from a minimum of 2 years up to 10+ years. Every one of these products are cleaned with the supercritical CO2 process. By varying the cork granulate size and the density of the cork granulate we are able to engineer the permeability of the closure. G3 Enterprises also offers supercritical CO2 treated corks designed to retain CO2 and eliminate TCA and other flavors in sparkling wine called Mytik."

G3 carries stock Diams up to Diam 10, and I had not heard of Diam 15 until your post. Interestingly, their Diam Tradition they carry is a Diam 5, which costs more than their Diam 10 (presumably, the look is worth more than the better closure ability). Also, presumably the Diam 15 is rated for closer to 15 years, but as I said, I had not heard of it before.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Steve Slatcher » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:54 pm

Thanks Craig. FWIW I was looking at http://www.diam-closures.com/Diam-techn ... till-wines (and the PDFs linked to on the right) for my info.

Designed for "a shelf life timeframe up to 10+ years"? Surely "10" is essentially meaningless when it is qualified by both an "up to" and a "+", and more to do with marketing than a design criterion. But as I said before, the life of a Diam is a potentially serious issue that I have not seen discussed much. I have seen a few wines under Diam that would be expected to last 10 years, and if I were a producer I would be asking awkward questions.
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Re: Resurgence of corkiness?

by Oliver McCrum » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:16 pm

I talked to a Diam rep here in CA, he said that he's had wines that went well past their 'Diam number', supposedly it's intended as a minimum guide.

On the other hand, there was a recent Diam study done by Jamie Goode that looked for problems with both TCA and oxygen transmission, and they found that about 3/4 or the closures weren't working properly (mostly due to excess oxygen transmission, with SO2 levels used as an indicator of OT). I've talked to someone at the new screwcap company Vinperfect, and he made a lot of sense (Italian producers are just now theoretically allowed to use alternative closures). I think Stelvin or a variation of it with 'programmable' OT will be the best closure.
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