Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

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

How Many of Your Wines Have Been Corked

1-3%
22
58%
4-6%
11
29%
7-10%
3
8%
10-15%
0
No votes
more than 15%
0
No votes
I've never had a corked wine
2
5%
 
Total votes : 38

Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:29 am

We have all been through this one a dozen times before but, inspired to some great extent by Hoke's posts at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=18610 , let's do an updated poll about our experience with cork as a closure and with TCA spoilage.

What percentage of the wines you open are corked? And in your comments, what suggestions would you make as to ideal closures for wine bottles.
User avatar
Daniel Rogov
Resident Curmudgeon
 
Posts: 12964
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:19 am

I have been keeping track for a few years & I run in the 7-10% range. I drink a lot of Riesling (understatement of the year) which shows off aromas/flavors very easily, so there's no problem identifying the issue.

My closure preference is screw cap (vino-lok is ok too), and my buying is starting to reflect that. My personal commitment is that starting with the 2008 vintage I will not buy wine under cork. Yes this will limit my buying options, and some personal favorites will go by the wayside, but that's just something I will have to adjust to.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21980
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby James Roscoe » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:39 am

I don't keep track, and I am not particularly sensitive to cork taint. I often wonder whether what I think is cork taint isn't another flaw. I put myself in the 4-6 range, but my overall flawed bottle range is definitely in the 7-10 range. It would help if distributors didn't ship wine in unrefrigerated trucks between Memorial Day and Columbus Day in most parts of the US. Alas, this is a big problem.
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10453
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Redwinger » Sat Sep 20, 2008 12:02 pm

Up until about 5 or 6 years ago, I kept track of this sort of stuff and consistently expericed a TCA flaw of 8%. That's about the equivalent of 1 btl/case. Over the past few years, I've really experienced a much lower rate and although I haven't tracked this closely, I'd estimate ~ 3% to 4%...maybe even a bit lower.
BP
Smile, it gives your face something to do!
Redwinger
Wine guru
 
Posts: 3897
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:36 pm
Location: Way Down South In Indiana, USA

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:14 pm

Redwinger wrote:Up until about 5 or 6 years ago, I kept track of this sort of stuff and consistently expericed a TCA flaw of 8%. That's about the equivalent of 1 btl/case. Over the past few years, I've really experienced a much lower rate and although I haven't tracked this closely, I'd estimate ~ 3% to 4%...maybe even a bit lower.

That mirrors my findings, Bill. The industry certainly hasn't eliminated cork taint, and I doubt that they ever will get rid of it 100 percent from natural cork. But I think they've made considerable QC strides, and I've seen a similar shift in my cork-taint statistics, opening a fairly large number of bottles every year.
User avatar
Robin Garr
Forum Janitor
 
Posts: 16982
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:44 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Mark Noah » Sat Sep 20, 2008 2:15 pm

Even 1 is too many.....
Mark Noah
Wine geek
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:03 pm
Location: Baltimore

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:03 pm

One of the problems is that we don't yet have a good alternative for long term wines. Stelvin etc. works well for whites and realtively short term reds, but tests done here in BC are now showing that while the same wine bottled under synthetic closure is better up to about 8 years, after that the preference of blind tasters is for wine bottled with corks.

If I was running a chateau producing wine that would normally receive long aging, I'd look very carefully at that issue. One would also have to contend with the market perception that only cheap wines use synthetic closure, and many or most upper class wineries seem to opt for acceptance of a certain incidence of corked wine instead of a large incidence of people not buying synthetically corked product.
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5011
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Neil Courtney » Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:39 pm

I think this question is too hard to answer for me. Perhaps 90-95% of wines that I open now have screwcaps so that leaves just a small sample with corks, so statistically this makes the margin of error very large. And of the few with corks probably 70% are using Diam so there are even fewer natural corks in use here in New Zealand. Not exactly certain about the figures here...
Cheers,
Neil Courtney

'Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.' --- Anonymous.
User avatar
Neil Courtney
Wine guru
 
Posts: 3308
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:39 pm
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:03 pm

For the folks who will not accept screw caps on fine red wine I have a true story from tonight's dinner: not one but two corked bottles of 2003 Leoville Barton. The third bottle was not corked but really didn't taste good after two corked ones.

Corks are an anachronism.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21980
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Hoke » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:24 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:One of the problems is that we don't yet have a good alternative for long term wines. Stelvin etc. works well for whites and realtively short term reds, but tests done here in BC are now showing that while the same wine bottled under synthetic closure is better up to about 8 years, after that the preference of blind tasters is for wine bottled with corks.

If I was running a chateau producing wine that would normally receive long aging, I'd look very carefully at that issue. One would also have to contend with the market perception that only cheap wines use synthetic closure, and many or most upper class wineries seem to opt for acceptance of a certain incidence of corked wine instead of a large incidence of people not buying synthetically corked product.


Couple of questions on this, Bill.

Based on how you worded this, I'm not sure what you're saying---you say the study/tests "are now showing that while the same wine bottled under synthetic closure is better up to about 8 years, after that the preference of blind tasters is for wine bottled with corks."

Does 'synthetic closure' refer to both artificial cork and screwcap closure, or is there a differentiation made in what type of closure is being compared to cork? Were they testing artificial---that is to say, some form of plastic---closure against cork; screwcap closure specifically; or any type of alternative closures clumped together against cork?

And the preference....was that preference stated as a straight up choice, or were they also asking for a qualitative response? In other words, a straight preference, or explaining what was preferred and why it was preferred?

The other point is you seem to be saying that people have a perception that alternative closures are only for 'cheap wines'. I would submit that has changed rather significantly in the last few years. I'd also submit that it's not really all that relevant, as perceptions change. Put enough wines under screwcaps (and convince enough people that it's a good and necessary thing, and minds will change. As I said, it already has. Heck, even Rogov has altered his stance!
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10361
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:36 pm

Go back in a time machine & find a Roman. He'll wonder why we've ruined the romance of wine with these strange cork-things.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21980
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Ryan M » Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:06 pm

Surprisingly I can only think of three wines I've had that were obviously corked. Two from stores, one at a restaurant. So, that's less than 1%.
"The sun, with all those planets revolving about it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do"
Galileo Galilei

(avatar: me next to the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory)
User avatar
Ryan M
Wine Gazer
 
Posts: 2012
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:01 pm
Location: Yankton, SD

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:02 pm

Hoke wrote:Couple of questions on this, Bill.

Does 'synthetic closure' refer to both artificial cork and screwcap closure, or is there a differentiation made in what type of closure is being compared to cork? Were they testing artificial---that is to say, some form of plastic---closure against cork; screwcap closure specifically; or any type of alternative closures clumped together against cork?

The other point is you seem to be saying that people have a perception that alternative closures are only for 'cheap wines'. I would submit that has changed rather significantly in the last few years. I'd also submit that it's not really all that relevant, as perceptions change. Put enough wines under screwcaps (and convince enough people that it's a good and necessary thing, and minds will change. As I said, it already has. Heck, even Rogov has altered his stance!


Hi Hoke.

Tinhorn Creek, a BC winery with a California trained winemaker bottled a batch of merlot, half under normal cork and half under screwcap. They have been tasting every year, and I am told that for the first 6-7 years the screwcap wines were rated as better, with comments that they were fresher. Now, the cork seems to have taken over, and these bottles rate rating better. Maybe the screwcap bottes are going reductive or are simply showing less development and complexity' I don't know as I haven't tasted them myself, nor spoken with the school of oenology at UBC, but I'll report back if I get more info.

Is anyone aware of any other tests like this where the same batch of wine was bottled two different ways? If so with what results?
User avatar
Bill Spohn
He put the 'bar' in 'barrister'
 
Posts: 5011
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:31 pm
Location: Vancouver BC

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Matilda L » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:23 pm

I guess I've been lucky - I haven't had all that many brushes with cork taint. I am happy with screw closures on wine - yes, even red wine; yes, even red wine I pay more than $25 a bottle for. (And I'm happy to knock the crown seal off a $50+ bottle of sparkling wine too. Try Domaine Chandon ZD. It's good.)

Matilda
User avatar
Matilda L
Sparkling Red Riding Hood
 
Posts: 1336
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:48 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Ben Kfir » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:00 am

I voted as Mark

"Even 1% is too many"
User avatar
Ben Kfir
Wine geek
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:34 am

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:56 am

Ben Kfir wrote:I voted as Mark. "Even 1% is too many"



Agreed but facing reality and considering that a wine is spoiled by TCA, an overdose of Brett, reduction or one of some two hundred and some other potential faults, that 1% figure seems quite within reason. The question that remains though is whether sealing under screwcap, crown cap, artificial cork, or other closures will prove to give us fewer "off" wines.

Best
Rogov
User avatar
Daniel Rogov
Resident Curmudgeon
 
Posts: 12964
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Shlomo R » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:21 am

David M. Bueker wrote:For the folks who will not accept screw caps on fine red wine I have a true story from tonight's dinner: not one but two corked bottles of 2003 Leoville Barton. The third bottle was not corked but really didn't taste good after two corked ones.

Corks are an anachronism.


Corks may be an anachronism, but at the tender age of 33 I find I have certain anachronistic tendencies, and preferring a quality cork closure in my wine is one of them. I prefer cork closures in my whiskey bottles as well, even though periodically a cork breaks off in the neck of the bottle. I prefer my engineers do calculations by hand, I am more comfortale reading documents and reviewing drawings on paper, etc...

THat being said, perhaps artificial cork is the way to go, although the only artificial cork that I appreciated was the one Barry Saslove was using when he produced his kosher wines (I don't know if he is still using it).
http://www.chailifeline.org/events/Bike ... rosenzweig - cycling 175 miles to raise money for summer camp for kids with cancer - doing it again in 2014!
Shlomo R
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 474
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:49 am

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:33 am

Shlomo R wrote:
That being said, perhaps artificial cork is the way to go, although the only artificial cork that I appreciated was the one Barry Saslove was using when he produced his kosher wines (I don't know if he is still using it).


Artificial corks (if you mean synthetics) are the absolute worst alternative. They have already shown that oxidation within the first 3 years or so is the likely results from synthetic corks.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21980
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:15 pm

By the way - for those interested in defending cork, here is a partial list of the producers where I have had corked wines in the last year:

Leoville Barton
Monbousquet
St. Innocent
Donnhoff
Leitz
Strub
Weil
Karthauserhof
Brundlmayer
FX Pichler
Hiedler
Gossett
Gaston-Chiquet
Kistler
Brun
Domaine de la Pepiere
Clos de Mont Olivet
Edmunds St. John
Domaine Weinbach
Cap de Faugeres
Chateau Branaire
Pegau
Ornellaia
Produttori del Barbaresco
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
User avatar
David M. Bueker
Riesling Guru
 
Posts: 21980
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Loweeel » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:47 pm

James Roscoe wrote:I don't keep track, and I am not particularly sensitive to cork taint. I often wonder whether what I think is cork taint isn't another flaw. I put myself in the 4-6 range, but my overall flawed bottle range is definitely in the 7-10 range. It would help if distributors didn't ship wine in unrefrigerated trucks between Memorial Day and Columbus Day in most parts of the US. Alas, this is a big problem.

James, cooking and corking are 2 entirely separate and unrelated problems. A wine need not be cooked for the TCA in the cork to spoil the wine, and all the heat in the world will cook the wine, but won't cork it, if there's no TCA.
http://PSychospath.com -- The PSychos' Path: the long road to being crazy about Petite Sirah
User avatar
Loweeel
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: Triangle Below Canal, New York, NY, USA

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Loweeel » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:50 pm

I've had a few bad bottles (Guenoc PS, both VINuM PeTS Petite Sirahs I've had -- the single vineyard and regular), but I didn't get the signature "wet cardboard" smell or taste. They were just... bland and off. Not really the descriptions I've heard of cork taint.
http://PSychospath.com -- The PSychos' Path: the long road to being crazy about Petite Sirah
User avatar
Loweeel
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: Triangle Below Canal, New York, NY, USA

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Hoke » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:54 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
Hoke wrote:Couple of questions on this, Bill.

Does 'synthetic closure' refer to both artificial cork and screwcap closure, or is there a differentiation made in what type of closure is being compared to cork? Were they testing artificial---that is to say, some form of plastic---closure against cork; screwcap closure specifically; or any type of alternative closures clumped together against cork?

The other point is you seem to be saying that people have a perception that alternative closures are only for 'cheap wines'. I would submit that has changed rather significantly in the last few years. I'd also submit that it's not really all that relevant, as perceptions change. Put enough wines under screwcaps (and convince enough people that it's a good and necessary thing, and minds will change. As I said, it already has. Heck, even Rogov has altered his stance!


Hi Hoke.

Tinhorn Creek, a BC winery with a California trained winemaker bottled a batch of merlot, half under normal cork and half under screwcap. They have been tasting every year, and I am told that for the first 6-7 years the screwcap wines were rated as better, with comments that they were fresher. Now, the cork seems to have taken over, and these bottles rate rating better. Maybe the screwcap bottes are going reductive or are simply showing less development and complexity' I don't know as I haven't tasted them myself, nor spoken with the school of oenology at UBC, but I'll report back if I get more info.

Is anyone aware of any other tests like this where the same batch of wine was bottled two different ways? If so with what results?


Thanks for the clarification, Bill. Interesting stuff.

Some of the wineries I work for and with have been doing these trials for years, internally. And so far, not one has reported on this difference emerging after that time span. Overwhelmingly, the response has been that the screwcap does a much, much better job at long-term aging than the cork-finished version.

Of course, that might not be a plus in the current wine world, where people want instant gratification, and don't wish to wait even longer for a wine to fully mature and develop. :D
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10361
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Hoke » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:01 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:By the way - for those interested in defending cork, here is a partial list of the producers where I have had corked wines in the last year:

Leoville Barton
Monbousquet
St. Innocent
Donnhoff
Leitz
Strub
Weil
Karthauserhof
Brundlmayer
FX Pichler
Hiedler
Gossett
Gaston-Chiquet
Kistler
Brun
Domaine de la Pepiere
Clos de Mont Olivet
Edmunds St. John
Domaine Weinbach
Cap de Faugeres
Chateau Branaire
Pegau
Ornellaia
Produttori del Barbaresco


Urk. No wonder you're pissed.

And these are not shabby, low-budget producers either. These are wineries with definite quality control systems in place, wineries that are fiercely dedicated to putting out top quality wines. Staggers you, really, when you think of all the cork that was rejected by all these producers before they bottle. And yet look at what got through.
Get rid of cork, and you get rid of cork-tainted wines.
User avatar
Hoke
Achieving Wine Immortality
 
Posts: 10361
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:11 pm

David, Hi....


Let me submit a series of observations and questions, those directed not only to you but to any who have a seemingly major problem with corked wines. The observations have not been backed up by firm data but seem to hold fairly consistently.

Observation 1: Depending largely on whom you read, American critics and sophisticated wine drinkers report anywhere from 5-12% of wines that have been tainted by TCA. European critics and sophisticated wine drinkers report anywhere from 1 - 3% of TCA tainted wines.

Question 1: Is it possible that American critics and wine drinkers are more sophisticated and more TCA sensitive than their European counterparts?

++++++

Observation 2: About five years ago Americans reported an enormous increase in the number of TCA tainted wines that they were finding. Europeans reported a very small increase.

Question 2: Is it at all possible that about five years ago, a new sub-sport developed in the USA, that of being the first and the best at spotting wines with TCA taint? And along with the hunting process, of reporting those wines in public as well as in private?

++++++++

Observation 3: (a) Sensitivity to TCA varies enormously from person to person; many wine drinkers show a demonstrably low senstivity to TCA, (c) not all TCA contamination comes from corks and (d) a vast number of of wine lovers cannot accurately identify various wine faults.

Question 3: Is it possible that in many cases we are talking about faux-findings, that is to say calling out that the sky is falling (when actuallly it may be falling) but for the wrong reasons?

+++++++++

Observation 4: Several have said, even on this thread, that even 1% failure in wines is too much.

Question 4: I would agree with the above but I wonder if we rage too deeply over that 1%. Or even over that 3 - 4%.

Pax Nobiscum
Rogov
User avatar
Daniel Rogov
Resident Curmudgeon
 
Posts: 12964
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:10 am
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Next

Return to Israeli and Kosher Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests