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Cork Taint


I have to ask @winechief but is that aussie hat adorned with corks or screwcaps?


Haha :rofl::rofl::rofl: About all they’re good for.

In all seriousness, I do buy most of my wine under cork now. Which is fine because I buy from places who will refund if the wine is faulty. If I still lived in Australia, most of my wine would be under screwcap. And I wouldn’t have an issue with that either.

And I do agree with @MikeFranklin that the aesthetics of opening a bottle with a corkscrew are far more satisfying than cracking a screwcap. But it all counts for very little if that 10+ year old wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion gets popped and turns out to be knackered through no fault of your own.


I confess to reading that entire post with an Aussie accent in my head :wink:



High quality DIAM corks seem to be a sensible option, but I’m always happy to see wines in screwcap. Donnhoff (for example) use screw caps on wines for drinking and corks for higher end bottles.


I don’t like screw-caps partly as a traditionalist. I was brought up when all wine was either stopped by a cork or was in a plastic bottle. I enjoy pulling the cork out and checking it. I am happy with non-traditional ‘corks’ such as plastic, DIAM etc and perhaps I should start a cork thread, I have had some interesting examples recently!
In the past I suffered from a couple of screw-caps being left in a wine-rack and leaking. They are much better these days as other posters have pointed out but in the early days the acid in the wine could occasionally get to the metal in the cap and corrode it.


I remember meeting Murray Tyrell and Cyril Henschke years ago and enjoyed buying wine from both of them
I sold my last bottle of Hill of Grace from the 1970s at auction a year or two ago (and it’s cork was still doing a fine job).


Or so you assume. That’s the problem, though, isn’t it? The seal may be good, but nobody knows if there’s cork taint until it’s opened.


Would you buy wine from them now that both of these producers favour screwcap over cork?


If anyone is near the showroom in the next day or so, they have a definitely corked bottle on hand that we came across at our weekly quality check session today.


Or even how good the seal was. It does not have to be obviously leaking to allow oxidiation.


The Spanish Fine and Mature Tasting that Pierre Mansour presented tonight only reinforced my feelings on the cork vs screw cap debate and proved that there is no such thing as a great old wine, only great old bottles.

Of the five 1991 Vega Silicia bottles opened, one was badly corked (TCA), one was vinegar, one was ok, one was good and one was great. Based on current retail prices, that’s about £790 of wine completely ruined by cork and two further bottles not being presented in the way they could be because of the choice of closure. Only one out of five was showing the full potential of a great wine, and even if you believe the traditionalists that say that wine has been improved by the use of cork, they aren’t odds I would ever choose.

We had a similar experience with the 1976 Muga.

I’ve spoken with or read accounts from over 30 winemakers who have run closure trials. Only two of those have chosen to go with cork following the trials, and one of those admitted it was purely for commercial reasons and their reliance on the Asian market.

I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in some of those trials and been able to host events that have taken those closure trials to the public. In every instance the evidence was clear that if you cared about the quality of wine then you would go for screw cap.

Having said all that I buy into the romance and sense of occasion around wine as much as anyone and no matter what evidence is generated, I hope I never have to twist open a bottle of Champagne rather than popping a cork from it.


I was going to ‘like’ this (very much, especially as I just had a bad bottle of a different Rioja, not WS), but the last paragraph of the post is very odd. To me, all the ‘romance and occasion’ around wine come from the taste, smell, sometimes feel, of the wine, not from how it is opened. Stick to what matters.


Each to their own.

What matters to me is different to what matters to others but thanks for the advice.


I think corks are imperfect remnants of a foregone age and should be eradicated… :wink: Put aside TCA, there are few more annoying things than a crumbling cork or when you want to open a bottle of wine and you don’t have a corkscrew on you. The only redeeming feature for me is that it justifies owning more gadgets (than one really needs)… I absolutely love my corkscrews.


I also much prefer cork to screwcap, and am fairly insensitive to cork taint compared to others (either that or I’m just a shit wine taster, probably both!)

Having said that, I have sadly had many corked bottles in 20 years of drinking the proper stuff. And equally sadly this is NEVER solved by pouring it into a carafe :smile:


I would agree, but for the invention of the Coravin. Being able to “access” bottles and then try them again in a month’s time is a modern miracle. The screwcap solution that they have works very well, but it does not have the same staying power.


Yes… another “must” have gadget (proud owner here) justifying the cork :slight_smile:


No but now there is also another reason. I’m no longer living in Oz so they would be bad for my food miles!


I have encountered plastic fizzy wine ‘corks’- but never on a Shampoo obvs. And they are buggers to get off.