Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Artificial corks and screw caps

Love 'em! I applaud the switch to these kinds of closures.

What's the benefit of real corks? To my thinking, the most logical (but still unproven) explanation I've heard is that they permit air into the wine (facilitating oxidation) at such a slow rate that the wine, as it ages, gains complexity.

But I've given up buying wines to lay down for more than a year or two at the most. 95% of what I buy I plan to drink within a year. And I drink a lot of stuff in the $6 - $15 range. In my experience, inexpensive wines are more frequently corked than expensive ones -- probably because producers want to keep costs down and buy lesser quality corks. So I've gotten more and more corked wines recently, it seems.

For these two reasons, I am positively ecstatic when I take off the capsule and see an artificial cork. I am less happy with screw caps for the simple reason that the aperture of the bottle is wider, and my "Vacu-vin" rubber stopper for unfinished bottles doesn't fit them well. Still, I'll make that trade-off to get fewer corked wines.

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