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

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

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:55 pm

Daniel - interesting questions, but unfortunately essentially defensive parries rather than actual questions. From my observations in the USA, the majority of cork defenders are older and have significant income to use on the wines that will be unlikely to change to screw caps. I wonder if it's the same overseas.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:20 pm

David, Hi...


Observational data only - Indeed in the USA those who defend cork tend to be older (and perhaps more fixed in their ways) and of a higher economic level. Equally important, however, they are also of a higher socio-economic level, that implying not only income but level of education and several other measures. I cannot help but think though that in Europe the issue is not so much age or income related as it crosses those lines in a kind of perhaps "sentimental loyalty".

And heck, many debates are based on a combination of attack and defensively worded questions........ One does, after all, want to play the game within a certain set of rules.

By the way, although I have been measured as very sensitive to TCA taint, my own figures show 1 - 3 %. And that immediately following a bottle of very pleasant Israeli rose under screwcap.

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

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:30 pm

The one thing that can account for a lot of the difference is that I drink probably double the percentage (if not more) of white wine than the average wine geek. White wines show defects much more easily & so I probably have a sample biased towards a high incidence of cork taint.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Shlomo R » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:13 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
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.


Well, aren't I embarassed? Shows how long I've kept bottles with artificial corks. I hereby retract my comments regarding artificial corks being the way to go.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:33 am

This morning it fell on me to taste a series of 12 rose wines from France, four of those under screwcap and wonder of wonders, one of those four was, by Jove, corked. TCA enough to scuttle the Battleship Missouri.

Truth is I've found my share of faulted wines under screwcap but this was the first in which TCA was the definite culprit. Is the sky really and truly falling????

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

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:58 am

David M. Bueker wrote: 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.


David, I think that this is "cutting off your nose to spite your face" and I guess that the natural cork industry will survive your gesture.

However, I do share your anger about the spoilage caused by defective corks and I think that reference to TCA only understates the problem. I open a lot of leaking bottles with abnormally low levels (if the wine is young it can bring some welcome accelerated maturity, but if the wines is old.....), others one in a lot with abnormal VA or brett and still others below the level of the best in the case for no visible or smellable reason.

I am also wondering whether the white burg premox issue would be so severe if screwcaps had been used.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:58 am

Tim York wrote:
David, I think that this is "cutting off your nose to spite your face" .


I think it's preservation of capital (and management of cellar space to boot).

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

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:27 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote: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.



These are interesting observations/questions.

I think that amongst wine-lovers some prestige is attached to being able to spot a corked wine accurately. I have often noticed at wine gatherings that, when one person, often the acknowledgedly "best" taster, declares the wine corked, most of the others assent to this even when I myself (probably with about average sensibility in this respect) can detect nothing; if I timidly confess this, I get looked at askance by the others. I am not saying that the "best" taster is wrong according to his/her perception but that some others with less sharp perception then start thinking through suggestion that they can taste the offending molecule even when they were happy before or that simply they just join the crowd. Conversely the average taster at such gatherings may be reluctant to declare a wine corked in borderline cases, lest the "best" taster says he is wrong.

This is a European observation. I have no experience of American tasting groups. It certainly does seem odd that reported incidence of TCA there is much greater than in Europe because I would expect the real incidence to be similar and perception thresholds to be distributed similarly throughout the population. It must be a behavioural matter.

I would say that the majority of TCA infections (roughly 5% of bottles opened) which I get are quite borderline and that, in my experience, a real stinker is rare.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:35 pm

David, Hi…

I would remind us of George Bernard Shaw's little axiom to the effect that "revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder".

I offer my oath that the moment one finds a "solution" to the cork problem, we will uncover the problems with the solution and start the next revolution. We may or we may not overcome in this case. To add to that....is "revolution" truly called for in this case. Might we not save our revolutionary energy for more important moral issues?

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

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:10 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Might we not save our revolutionary energy for more important moral issues?


Exposing the failures of corks doesn't take a lot of energy or moral strength, just a willingness to see the truth about a flawed product.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Michael Greenberg » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:31 pm

I actually prefer screwcaps for whites because the bottle fits better in the fridge (I do not drink a whole bottle at once unless sharing with guests)---for reds--I can store the undrunk portionfor one or a few more days on a cabinet shelf,so I have no problem with just re-sticking the cork back in--but with whitesfor the fridge,if they are in greater height bottles --like Riesling-- that is a problem if corked--often I have to cut the cork down to get them to fit the top shelf of my fridge--so screwtops make better sense--simply for that reason..Since it is not a problem with reds,I prefer to think that the corkerd reds breathe better on the shelf than the screwtops.

SO to sum up: Whites=screwtops;Reds= corks..that is my preference.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Ken Schechet » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:08 am

I'd like to throw another interesting point about cork taint on the table. Wines do not go from being perfect to smelling like old sweatsocks in one day. We're all talking about wines that have obvious cork taint, but I believe that we are drinking many wines that have been effected to some degree by TCA but are not yet obviously corked. They show as being not all they should be because they are on their way to being corked, but we don't realize that's why the wines are not exciting. I'll bet a lot of wines suffer from this effect.

Most wines are made to be consumed in a year or two. I don't see any reason why all of them shouldn't be in screwcaps.
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Re: Wine Poll #010: Back to the Issue of Cork

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:30 am

Ken Schechet wrote:I'd like to throw another interesting point about cork taint on the table. Wines do not go from being perfect to smelling like old sweatsocks in one day. We're all talking about wines that have obvious cork taint, but I believe that we are drinking many wines that have been effected to some degree by TCA but are not yet obviously corked. They show as being not all they should be because they are on their way to being corked, but we don't realize that's why the wines are not exciting. I'll bet a lot of wines suffer from this effect.

Most wines are made to be consumed in a year or two. I don't see any reason why all of them shouldn't be in screwcaps.



Ken, Hi.....

Much here depends on individual sensitivity to TCA, the more sensitive reacting negatively a very low presence. As to whether a wine is impacted upon or not by TCA, no matter the level, it's all something akin to being pregnant- that is to say either one is or one isn't.

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