Archive for March 26th, 2012

Will Cork Wine Stoppers Be a Thing of the Past?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A corked wine smells disagreeable and musty

In the 1950s several US and Australian wineries started implementing screw caps on inexpensive wines for economic reasons. These days wine spoilage in bottles with cork stoppers has been found to be due to tainting of corks by a chemical compound called trichloroanisole (TCA). Presently, 10% of cork stoppers are suspected of being infected with TCA, and in a recent tasting by Wine Spectator in Napa they found 7% of the wines tasted were “corked”. This is a threat that might signal the end of cork wine bottle stoppers.  There have been accusations from the cork producers that bottles with synthetic closures may be prone to another aroma taint: sulphidisation, which arises from the reduced oxygen supply which concentrates sulphurous smells arising from universal preservatives but this has not been entirely proven. The image of opening a bottle of fine wine sealed by a screw cap closure in a top restaurant is an unpleasant thought, at least in my mind. However, it is certainly nothing new, as in many fine restaurants in Switzerland (Swiss wines are mainly sealed by screw cap closures) they have been doing exactly that for many years now, and everyone has accepted it as standard practice.