Thursday, 5 March 2009
The great cork experiment
Well here are the results! I am not going to attempt to discuss each cork but more interestingly here is a bit of chit chat about corks!
Top quality cork from Portugal has been the prime choice for the finest wines over the centuries, before that was discovered wine makers used oily rags! nice!
The very best corks are made from 100% cork bark. This takes 10 years to grow and has to be carefully harvested and looked after so that there is no disease present on it. The cheapest alternatives are synthetic rubber corks that are designed to emulate the real thing.
A different thing altogether is screw tops or STELVINS which have really come into fashion now.
An important thing to remember about any kind of cork is that they let air through into the wine. This oxidises the wine, helps to relax it and makes the wine more drinkable, this is a calculated part of the process!
Make sure that you store your bottles on your side! Natural cork can dry out and shrink which will eventually let air in and oxidise the wine too quickly (this is bad) therefore spoiling it!
Here is the cork from a nice old bottle of Chianti, notice how long it is. this is an indication that the wine was intended to be aged. Bordeaux wines which are destined for lying dormant in cellars often have really long high quality corks. the chianti has stained the cork dark purple here, thats the tannins in the wine.
This stelvin cap
came from a cheap bottle of pink sparkling wine! The bit to note is the lining inside the screwcap. This is the bit that keeps the air out and is where all the technology lies. The actual screwcap is just there to hold it on.