Welcome again to Reflexions of a sommelier.
This week, I want to lay it on an important matter in the world of winemaking: “The Cap”.
Going back to the story, the plugs for glass containers, particularly bottles of wine or spirits, were made only with natural cork (first use attributed to Pierre Perignon, 1638-1715) to ferment the wine in the bottles and confer foaming.
The cork as a plug is very flexible, porous and odorless, whose main function is to protect the wine from external agents and to ensure that the wine reaches the consumer in optimal condition for tasting.
We have different options of cork plugs and depend on the type of the wine. For example:
- - Natural cork cap is ideal to aging the wine (Aged and reserve wines)
- - The clogging cap (filler cap natural cork cork powder) is ideal for young and crianza.
- - 1+1 cap (agglomerated cork with natural cork washers on top and bottom) is ideal for wines meant to be consumed within 2 to 3 years and sparkling.
- - Aglomerated cork is an economical solution for a closure of short duration (1 year) like the agglomerated micro plug (similar to chipboard).
Cork is a natural (cork oak) and is exposed to environmental pollution, which can cause some problems over wine as the TCA (Tricloroanisol), which is a fungus that is installed on the cork and contaminate the product, as well problems are evaporation or waste products.
For years it has been researched and used other types of materials like synthetic and threaded (widely used in areas such as Australia, Germany and South Africa) indicating they are safe, reliable, without taste or odor components. They are cheaper economically and most importantly is that they eliminate the problem of TCA, which is the most feared by the winemakers especially in high quality wines and expensive wines.
Since I work in the wine world, I had a special interest in attending trade shows specializing in caps and containers made in Bordeaux, checking in person the great technical advantages of synthetic stopper ... I throw you a question: what can you say if you buy a bottle red wine as Roda I, Vega Sicilia, Valbuena or Pingus and when you open the bottle, is a synthetic green plug, or red or another color? Do you think we are ready to forget the romantic and historic cork and accept the reliability of the synthetic?
Even being in favor of the advantages of synthetic cork and threaded, when it comes to wines with aging, complex and structured, personally I prefer the ritual of opening a bottle of wine with the cork, sniff and finally taste the wine!
In contrast to white, pink and young reds, moderns and when the bottle aging is not so important, synthetic or threaded caps are the best choice!
Finally, some recommendations that you can find in the store Idyllica.
Milú 2013 (synthetic cap)
- Country: Spain
- Region: Castile and Leon
- Appellation: D.O. Ribera del Duero
- Type: Red
- Capacity: 0.75 L
- Alcohol percentage: 13.5°
- Cellar: Quinta Milú
- Grapes: Tempranillo.
- Winemaking: Aged a minimum of 6 months with used french and american oak barrels.
- Pearing: Red meat.
Pansa Blanca 2013 Alta Alella (threaded cap)
- Country: España
- Region: Cataluña
- Appellation: D.O. Alella
- Type: Blanco Seco
- Capacity: 0.75 L
- Alcohol percentage: 11.5°
- Year: 2013
- Cellar: Alta Alella
- Grapes: Xarel·lo.
- Winemaking: Fermentation in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 15 ° C..
As always, thank you very much for share this blog with me and see you next time.
Dolors Carabaca is a sommelier who has 10 years experience in the wine world and has worked in specialty stores, has traveled several areas where they grow wine as Spain, Portugal, France among others and which is specialized in making courses, tastings and alike all kinds of beverage products, hams, cheeses, etc..