Category: Debatable

wine-closures

 

 

A while ago I wrote an article listing some of the inconveniences of solid cork closures in bottles of wine. This way of stopping up bottles dates from the 17th century and it has to be said that technology has moved on a bit since those days! So yes, there are several alternatives available today to wine producers. Each one has its advantages, and some disadvantages, so I suppose it is fair to say that there is no « perfect » closure system for all wines. Since the advantages and disadvantages are of different orders, let’s take a look at them for each case.

 

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I am totally fed up with wine stoppers made from solid cork and, as a by-product, all those who defend them as a decent way of closing bottles of wine, whether by ignorance or vested interest. Corks are one of the least effective closure systems for wine. And things get even worse when one is talking about aged wines, which are also usually rarer and more expensive than their younger counterparts. Old wines, and to a lesser extent young wines also are regularly spoilt or diminished by a small piece of the bark of a tree.

 

Photo: Vincent Pousson

Photo: Vincent Pousson

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It is not because something is « natural » that you want it in your glass!

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In its issue no: 49, the excellent Swiss magazine Vinifera, produced by Jacques Perrin, devoted a 12 page dossier to a topic that was entitled « The dream of natural wine« . As part of his investigation of this modish subject, Perrin went to the trouble to ask opinions of a number of wine professionals: wine writers, producers and university teachers. He asked them 2 questions:

 

1). « Terms such as « natural » wine, « real » wine, or « sulphur-free » wine are used quite a lot these days. Often the ensuing debate turns into a verbal boxing match that sometimes involves personal insults. Why in your opinion is this such a loaded subject and can you set out briefly your thoughts on it ? »

 

2). « As from February 2012, European legislation has adopted a biological/organic wine certification that includes wine making as well as grape growing. What do you think of this evolution and will consumers or wine producers benefit from it? »

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angle-france-quart

 

My origins are in England and my vision of French wines now covers more than 60 years. This period has not been continuous as I have not always worked in the wine trade, but it has been full-time for the past 31 years during which I have worked in various aspects of the wine business. Appreciation of wine was handed down to me by my father who worked all his professional life for one of London’s traditional wine merchants. As an adolescent, my wine horizons were not limited to France since, although three quarters of my father’s cellar was composed of French wines, my first vinous emotions were kindled by German wines, particularly Riesling from the Mosel and Rheingau. Then came ports and sherries. Later on I learnt to appreciate French wines that had the lion’s share of what was served at the family table, although their origins were limited to three regions: Champagne, Burgundy (white and red) and Bordeaux (white and red).

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