Screw caps vs. corks

> I know ftom your postings that you are a passionate advocate of > them but I have not seen enough evidence to prove the case for > them for good wine which requires or will benefit from aging. There is more than enough evidence around, especially Tyson Stelzer's two books, "Screwed for good? The Case for Screw Caps on Red Wines" and "Taming the Screw. A Manual for Winemaking with Screw Caps". Please mail me (via "reply to" button), I have something for you which is too large to be posted here. > I therefore ask, in a spirit of enquiry not argument, what is > the oldest and best wine you or others have tasted from such > bottles? Personally both Riesling and Grüner Veltliner 2002 from Hannes Hirsch. He was the first to use them in Austria. In red Feiler- Artinger's Solitaire 2003. > What evidence is there that the wine can age as well long term > as under cork? There is an excellent comparative tasting report (same wine corked and screwed) covering AU and NZ wines, both white and red, up to 11 years of age here (btw, it was mentioned in this group iirc): or shorter The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under screw caps. This is absolutely in line with what Peter Gago, Penfold's chief winemaker, told me. He has experience with reds under screwcaps for 11 and 12 years now: "They age slightly different, like a cool cellar compared to a normal cellar." What better is there? If they age too slow, keep them slightly warmer. As to very long-term ageing, Peter Gago has a 1972 Yalumba Riesling in the fridge at his office. If the visitor is important enough, Peter even might open it: Any time he did, the wine was absolutely fabulous. > I note that you suggest crown caps for sparkling wine but am > bound to say that I find far fewere cork problems with such > wines than with still ones and would need a lot of persuading > that they are so necessary as to overcome their comparative > aesthetic deficiencies.
In our last comprehensive champagne tasting in 2003 (Vinaria 6/2003, pp. 80 - 94) we had 82 wines. 13 were corked, in 3 cases both bottles corked. In 8 cases the taint was confirmed by an untainted back-up bottle. In total, from 93 bottles opened 16 corked: a total of 17%.
When Moët & Chandon presented Dom Pérignon 1998 here in Vienna some months ago, we had Dom '96 as Aperitif (and good-bye sip): 2 corks out of 9 bottles. As to the '98, from 6 or 7 bottles opened I clearly had two or three different wines, the last bottle being completely oxidized.
With taint rates like these (confirmed by personal experience and by others), aesthetic deficiencies are a non-argument for me. What matters is what's in the glass, not the packaging - at least for me.
Have you seen this:
?
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
You know its a possibilty you have simply drunk to much of this stuff and its affected your taste buds. If the wine taints your liver your tongue would have serious change and inflate the amount wine you perceive was bad. I do indeed realize that TCA is an issue. All joking aside Two years ago for my 25th wedding aniversary I took a special bottle from my cellar. It was DEAD. I did notice some Wet Dog syndrome going on. I was very dissapointed. I had bottle since release....took care of it for 25+ years. When cork pulled it was in good shape...no storage issues. TCA got me. It really bothered me. > >> I know ftom your postings that you are a passionate advocate of >> them but I have not seen enough evidence to prove the case for >> them for good wine which requires or will benefit from aging. > > There is more than enough evidence around, especially Tyson > Stelzer's two books, "Screwed for good? The Case for Screw Caps on > Red Wines" and "Taming the Screw. A Manual for Winemaking with > Screw Caps". Please mail me (via "reply to" button), I have > something for you which is too large to be posted here. > >> I therefore ask, in a spirit of enquiry not argument, what is >> the oldest and best wine you or others have tasted from such >> bottles? > > Personally both Riesling and Grüner Veltliner 2002 from Hannes > Hirsch. He was the first to use them in Austria. In red Feiler- > Artinger's Solitaire 2003. > >> What evidence is there that the wine can age as well long term >> as under cork? > > There is an excellent comparative tasting report (same wine corked > and screwed) covering AU and NZ wines, both white and red, up to > 11 years of age here (btw, it was mentioned in this group iirc): > > 1140283945303.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2> > > or shorter > > > > The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under > screw caps. > > This is absolutely in line with what Peter Gago, Penfold's chief > winemaker, told me. He has experience with reds under screwcaps > for 11 and 12 years now: "They age slightly different, like a cool > cellar compared to a normal cellar." What better is there? If they > age too slow, keep them slightly warmer. > > As to very long-term ageing, Peter Gago has a 1972 Yalumba > Riesling in the fridge at his office. If the visitor is important > enough, Peter even might open it: Any time he did, the wine was > absolutely fabulous. > >> I note that you suggest crown caps for sparkling wine but am >> bound to say that I find far fewere cork problems with such >> wines than with still ones and would need a lot of persuading >> that they are so necessary as to overcome their comparative >> aesthetic deficiencies. > > In our last comprehensive champagne tasting in 2003 (Vinaria > 6/2003, pp. 80 - 94) we had 82 wines. 13 were corked, in 3 cases > both bottles corked. In 8 cases the taint was confirmed by an > untainted back-up bottle. In total, from 93 bottles opened 16 > corked: a total of 17%. > > When Moët & Chandon presented Dom Pérignon 1998 here in Vienna > some months ago, we had Dom '96 as Aperitif (and good-bye sip): 2 > corks out of 9 bottles. As to the '98, from 6 or 7 bottles opened > I clearly had two or three different wines, the last bottle being > completely oxidized. > > With taint rates like these (confirmed by personal experience and > by others), aesthetic deficiencies are a non-argument for me. What > matters is what's in the glass, not the packaging - at least for > me. > > Have you seen this: > > ? > > M.
Reply to
Richard Neidich
> The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under > screw caps.
That‘s what I would expect which means that you have to tie even more money up in your cellar to wait for it to be drinkable — especially in the case of decent Bordeaux or Burgundy.
I note that the tasting to which you refer draws a clear distinction between the advantage for Rieslings and others both white and red but it was noticeable — and unavoidable — that there were no really old Rieslings amongst them and nothing from Alsace. I note what you say about the 1972 Yalumba but again it is a quite different wine from any European Riesling I have tasted. Could it be that the characteristics which people like and admire in the New World wines benefit from screwcaps and the Old World style does better under cork for the great vins de garde anyway?
I am horrified to see that Moët actually served corked wine. As I say I have not experienced the level of corking problem to which you refer with Champagne — if I had I would agree that foregoing the aesthetic advanatages would make sense. Is there actually any published objective work on TCA taint rates and are you sure that we are actually talking about TCA in all cases of bottle to bottle difference — assuming bottling from the same barrel or cuve?
Reply to
Timothy Hartley
> You know its a possibilty you have simply drunk to much of this > stuff and its affected your taste buds. If the wine taints your > liver your tongue would have serious change and inflate the > amount wine you perceive was bad.
Is that serious or a joke?
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
The part you have quoted here is a joke. The fact I had a bottle of wine that was TCA for Aniv. was not a joke. However it is possible that if you drink to much your count is wrong and only 1%-3% of the wine is tainted with TCA and you cannot remember. :-) > >> You know its a possibilty you have simply drunk to much of this >> stuff and its affected your taste buds. If the wine taints your >> liver your tongue would have serious change and inflate the >> amount wine you perceive was bad. > > Is that serious or a joke? > > M.
Reply to
Richard Neidich
>> The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under >> screw caps. > That‘s what I would expect which means that you have to tie even > more money up in your cellar to wait for it to be drinkable — > especially in the case of decent Bordeaux or Burgundy. When I get my two cases of Château d'Agassac 2004 next year I will keep some of them in the dining room to make comparisons against those from the cellar. > I note that the tasting to which you refer draws a clear > distinction between the advantage for Rieslings and others both > white and red but it was noticeable — and unavoidable — that > there were no really old Rieslings amongst them and nothing from > Alsace. I note what you say about the 1972 Yalumba but again it > is a quite different wine from any European Riesling I have > tasted. Could it be that the characteristics which people like > and admire in the New World wines benefit from screwcaps and the > Old World style does better under cork for the great vins de > garde anyway? Cant really comment on this question since I have no tasting experience with older New World wines under screw caps, but what I have experienced over here seems *very* promising, although admittedly only on the basis of a very short period. > I am horrified to see that Moët actually served corked wine. > As I say I have not experienced the level of corking problem to > which you refer with Champagne — if I had I would agree that > foregoing the aesthetic advanatages would make sense. Is there > actually any published objective work on TCA taint rates Sorry, no idea. > and are you sure that we are actually talking about TCA in all > cases of bottle to bottle difference — assuming bottling from > the same barrel or cuve?
As I have repeatedly said: TCA is only the tip of the iceberg. There are other cork-induced taint factors, fruit scalping, sporadic oxidation, etc.
Hannes Gebeshuber, wine-grower in Gumpoldskirchen south of Vienna gives his opinion on his cork trials over the years: "10% are neutral or nearly neutral. Some 10% are definitely faulty. But 80% do impart a whole array of flavours to wine without being faulty. And now find out which type of cork flavour you want to have in which type of wine - go figure ...!"
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
> However it is possible that if you drink to much your count is > wrong and only 1%-3% of the wine is tainted with TCA and you > cannot remember. :-)
Dick, I am talking about blind panel tastings where my figures come from. Of course we spit!
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
>> The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under >> screw caps. > > That‘s what I would expect which means that you have to tie even more > money up in your cellar to wait for it to be drinkable — especially in > the case of decent Bordeaux or Burgundy. But since winemakers worldwide are moving to more forward and early-drinking wines, perhaps a move to screwcaps will simply preserve the status quo, no? > > I note that the tasting to which you refer draws a clear distinction > between the advantage for Rieslings and others both white and red but > it was noticeable — and unavoidable — that there were no really old > Rieslings amongst them and nothing from Alsace. I note what you say > about the 1972 Yalumba but again it is a quite different wine from any > European Riesling I have tasted. Could it be that the characteristics > which people like and admire in the New World wines benefit from > screwcaps and the Old World style does better under cork for the great > vins de garde anyway? Herein lies the rub. I've written about this before here, but it is known that the aging of wine has both aerobic and anaerobic components, so a slow ingress of oxygen is needed for the "proper" aging of wine. Screwcap manufacturers have recognized this and changed their closures to give an "optimal" amount of oxygen ingress. We'll need to see how wines bottled under those closures develop over the next 20 years to see how well they resemble aged, cork-finished wines. Of course, should the move to screwcap happen on a large scale, the chances are that tastes will change to accomodate that move, just as the move to bottling claret no doubt changed people's taste in the 18th Century (and the move away from pitch-sealed amphorae changed people's tastes a millenium earlier). It's analogous to the world of high end stereo: there are still tube amp afficionados, but they are relegated to a minority, along with LP fanciers, as the world embraces solid-state electronics and digitally encoded music. > > I am horrified to see that Moët actually served corked wine. As I > say I have not experienced the level of corking problem to which you > refer with Champagne — if I had I would agree that foregoing the > aesthetic advanatages would make sense. Is there actually any > published objective work on TCA taint rates and are you sure that we > are actually talking about TCA in all cases of bottle to bottle > difference — assuming bottling from the same barrel or cuve?
Five years ago, I made a similar statement about Champagne and sparklinq wine not showing cork taint. Since then, I've encountered at least a dozen corked bottles of sparkling wine -- and the percentage seems to be in line with what I encounter in still wine. I don't keep hard and fast statistics, but it's certainly between 5-10% (sorry, Dick!)
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
Mark, I certainly agree. Any wine that I have that I would drink within 3 years of release I have no problem with stelvin, synthetic cork, plastic corks etc. > >>> The essence: It seems that wines age and develop slower under >>> screw caps. >> >> That‘s what I would expect which means that you have to tie even more >> money up in your cellar to wait for it to be drinkable — especially in >> the case of decent Bordeaux or Burgundy. > > But since winemakers worldwide are moving to more forward and > early-drinking wines, perhaps a move to screwcaps will simply preserve > the status quo, no? > >> >> I note that the tasting to which you refer draws a clear distinction >> between the advantage for Rieslings and others both white and red but >> it was noticeable — and unavoidable — that there were no really old >> Rieslings amongst them and nothing from Alsace. I note what you say >> about the 1972 Yalumba but again it is a quite different wine from any >> European Riesling I have tasted. Could it be that the characteristics >> which people like and admire in the New World wines benefit from >> screwcaps and the Old World style does better under cork for the great >> vins de garde anyway? > > Herein lies the rub. I've written about this before here, but it is > known that the aging of wine has both aerobic and anaerobic components, > so a slow ingress of oxygen is needed for the "proper" aging of wine. > Screwcap manufacturers have recognized this and changed their closures > to give an "optimal" amount of oxygen ingress. We'll need to see how > wines bottled under those closures develop over the next 20 years to see > how well they resemble aged, cork-finished wines. Of course, should the > move to screwcap happen on a large scale, the chances are that tastes > will change to accomodate that move, just as the move to bottling claret > no doubt changed people's taste in the 18th Century (and the move away > from pitch-sealed amphorae changed people's tastes a millenium earlier). > It's analogous to the world of high end stereo: there are still tube > amp afficionados, but they are relegated to a minority, along with LP > fanciers, as the world embraces solid-state electronics and digitally > encoded music. > >> >> I am horrified to see that Moët actually served corked wine. As I >> say I have not experienced the level of corking problem to which you >> refer with Champagne — if I had I would agree that foregoing the >> aesthetic advanatages would make sense. Is there actually any >> published objective work on TCA taint rates and are you sure that we >> are actually talking about TCA in all cases of bottle to bottle >> difference — assuming bottling from the same barrel or cuve? > > Five years ago, I made a similar statement about Champagne and sparklinq > wine not showing cork taint. Since then, I've encountered at least a > dozen corked bottles of sparkling wine -- and the percentage seems to be > in line with what I encounter in still wine. I don't keep hard and fast > statistics, but it's certainly between 5-10% (sorry, Dick!) > > Mark Lipton
Reply to
Richard Neidich

Hello, my name is Allyn. I am not a wine drinker but have interest in TCA. Would any know whether corked (natural), wine stored in bottles upside down from the moment of bottling until the moment of opening experience TCA? And is Champagne and sparkling wine stored in a different way than most wines in bottles? Thanks for the help.
Allyn Johnston
Reply to
commercialcanner
"commercialcanner" wrote in news:1141173767.049267.196250@v46g2000cwv.googlegroups.com: > Hello, my name is Allyn. I am not a wine drinker but have interest in > TCA. Would any know whether corked (natural), wine stored in bottles > upside down from the moment of bottling until the moment of opening > experience TCA? And is Champagne and sparkling wine stored in a > different way than most wines in bottles? Thanks for the help. > > Allyn Johnston > >
Champagne for much of it's life is bottled under crown caps like a beer. During this time the bottles are top down (about 20 degrees) so that the yeast will accumulate in the neck of the bottle so when the wine is disgorged the sediment will pop out. It is released shortly after this process so in effect, yes to you question.
-- Joseph Coulter Cruises and Vacations
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Joseph Coulter
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Reply to
Joseph Coulter
> Hello, my name is Allyn. I am not a wine drinker but have interest in > TCA. Would any know whether corked (natural), wine stored in bottles > upside down from the moment of bottling until the moment of opening > experience TCA? And is Champagne and sparkling wine stored in a > different way than most wines in bottles? Thanks for the help.
There's no reason why the orientation of the bottle should affect TCA contamination in any way. I suppose that if the bottle were stored upright for the entirety of its lifetime the level of TCA contamination might be lower, but since the human detection threshold is in the low part per billion it would be tough to keep it below the average detection threshold.
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
> I am not a wine drinker Such a pity! > but have interest in TCA. Strange interests around. > Would any know whether corked (natural), wine stored in bottles > upside down from the moment of bottling until the moment of > opening experience TCA? Yes, of course. > And is Champagne and sparkling wine stored in a different way > than most wines in bottles?
Champagne should be stored on its side, like any other wine.
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay

Thank you for your help. I am interested in all taints in acidified food products. I have often wondered whether taints begin with yeast/mold spores, air and humidity and a growing medium. It would seem possible that a natural cork could easily collect a few spores then with added humidity (upright after filling) and air, these spores could activate. An upside down bottle once filled perhaps could reduce the conditions for the lodged spores to activate. If Champagne bottles are stored immediately after filling nearly upside down perhaps they would have less taint because of poor growing conditions. Likewise it would also seem possible that a smoother surface on a synthetic cork would not be a good growing medium for a spore. Surely there must be some test results available.
Allyn Johnston
Reply to
commercialcanner
> If Champagne bottles are stored immediately after filling nearly > upside down perhaps they would have less taint because of poor > growing conditions.
Sorry, no. Champagne bottles during their production are stored horizontally right from the beginning ("sur lattes"). It's only for the final six weeks to three months before disgorgment that they are put in a vertical position in the riddling tables ("pupitres") or the pallet cages ("gyropalettes"). During all this time 99.99% of champagne is not in contact with cork, but with the synthetic insert in the crown cap ("bidule") where the lees are collected after riddling.
After disgorgement and addition of the liqueur de dosage they are bark cork stoppered and usually immediately boxed horizontally.
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
>After disgorgement and addition of the liqueur de dosage they are >bark cork stoppered and usually immediately boxed horizontally.
A number of wineries in Australia are now re-applying crown seals, and this is the final closure offered for sale. Disregarding the aesthetic and taint issues, they are a lot easier to open without damaging the ceiling or inadvertently hosing your significant other - no pop, but a satisfying sigh...
Reply to
Andrew L Drumm
> A number of wineries in Australia are now re-applying crown > seals, and this is the final closure offered for sale. > Disregarding the aesthetic and taint issues, they are a lot > easier to open without damaging the ceiling or inadvertently > hosing your significant other - no pop, but a satisfying sigh...
See:
Whomever I talk to tells me it would be impossible, the ceremony and the pop are indispensible essentials. Ridiculous when I count a solid 17 percent cork taint rate from our last comprehensive champagne tasting back in 2003: 16 bottles from 93 opened. I even am corresponding with a champagne grower who might apply crown caps for me - something completely illegal, since by law a bark cork is required for any recipient larger than a 250ml bottle.
Crown caps, however, have made their appearance with semi-sparklers ("frizante") from Austrian producer Szigeti. They have their own range, but also "champagnize" producers' personalized wines.
M.
Reply to
Michael Pronay
Salut/Hi Michael Pronay, le/on Tue, 28 Feb 2006 12:08:45 +0100, tu disais/you said:- >> I therefore ask, in a spirit of enquiry not argument, what is >> the oldest and best wine you or others have tasted from such >> bottles? > >Personally both Riesling and Grüner Veltliner 2002 from Hannes >Hirsch. He was the first to use them in Austria. In red Feiler- >Artinger's Solitaire 2003.
What about that tasting during Vinexpo which was put on, with parallel cork and non cork closures, tasted blind? I got tasted out before the end, but didn't they have some wines there with 5 - 10 years under both closures? How did you get on with them?
-- All the Best Ian Hoare
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Ian Hoare
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Reply to
Ian Hoare
> Thank you for your help. I am interested in all taints in acidified > food products. I have often wondered whether taints begin with > yeast/mold spores, air and humidity and a growing medium. [...] > Likewise it would > also seem possible that a smoother surface on a synthetic cork would > not be a good growing medium for a spore. Surely there must be some > test results available.
Indeed, there is a lot known about the sources of TCA in wine. It mostly arises from the metabolism of chlorinated phenols by mold (aspergillus mostly). Chlorinated phenols arise in large part from treatment of corks with hypochlorite disinfectants. The cork industry has invested considerable time and effort to try and eradicate the problem, yet the problem still persists. It's also true that corks aren't the sole source of TCA. There are a number of good articles on the subject on the Web. Here's one:
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HTH Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton

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