Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

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How do you cut?

Over annulus
31
22%
Under the annulus
26
18%
It depends
9
6%
I prefer to cut off or remove the entire capsule
75
53%
 
Total votes : 141

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chaad thomas
 
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Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #1  Postby chaad thomas » January 2nd 2012, 6:17pm

I've found myself cutting above the annulus recently, and I think I prefer the look. For years, while working as a somm, I used to cut underneath, because I found pressing up into the annulus while doing standing service gave extra security and a nice guide for a clean cut. I sometimes would cut above, but only when I wanted to do a fancy cork presentation.

I have a friend who told me once that Europeans cut above the annulus, Americans underneath.

I just wonder...what is the preference here, and why?

For clarity, in the picture below, on the left is Above, and the right is Under:

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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #2  Postby Bob Wood » January 2nd 2012, 6:17pm

I just pull the damn thing off.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #3  Postby chaad thomas » January 2nd 2012, 6:21pm

Bob Wood wrote:I just pull the damn thing off.

That's option #4, right? [wink.gif]
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #4  Postby timmy roos » January 2nd 2012, 6:24pm

chaad thomas wrote:
Bob Wood wrote:I just pull the damn thing off.

That's option #4, right? [wink.gif]

Yep, I do the same
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #5  Postby Doug Lee » January 2nd 2012, 6:37pm

Me too.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #6  Postby Craig Gleason » January 2nd 2012, 6:43pm

When I'm serving guests I usually cut above, but often I pull the whole capsule off.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #7  Postby Mike Ritner » January 2nd 2012, 6:48pm

If I can just pull it off (80-90% of the time) I do that. If not, over the annulus every time. It never occurred to me to cut it under the annulus. I saw the under cut done in a restaurant once and I wondered what the logic was (it just seemed like unnecessary work); thanks for your explanation, Chaad.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #8  Postby David Wright » January 2nd 2012, 6:50pm

Underneath, or tear the entire thing off.

Way back when, capsules were made of lead and cutting beneath the annulus meant that the wine would not contact the capsule while pouring. I also learned to use a clean damp cloth to clean the lip of lead-capsuled bottles for the same reason.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #9  Postby Mel Hill » January 2nd 2012, 6:59pm

Dude said annulus....
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #10  Postby chaad thomas » January 2nd 2012, 7:19pm

Early results show a strong preference for ripping the capsule off.

Are producers wasting their money on printed capsules and label matching designs? Does the lack of decorum in handling the capsule suggest the time for the screwcap is nigh? :)
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #11  Postby brigcampbell » January 2nd 2012, 7:20pm

timmy roos wrote:
chaad thomas wrote:
Bob Wood wrote:I just pull the damn thing off.

That's option #4, right? [wink.gif]

Yep, I do the same


I just rip the cork out right through it... crude but effective.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #12  Postby andy velebil » January 2nd 2012, 7:23pm

I usually cut it over as I think it has better presentation when serving it to others. If it's just me at home, I usually just rip the thing off.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #13  Postby chaad thomas » January 2nd 2012, 7:37pm

brigcampbell wrote:
timmy roos wrote:
chaad thomas wrote:
Bob Wood wrote:I just pull the damn thing off.

That's option #4, right? [wink.gif]

Yep, I do the same


I just rip the cork out right through it... crude but effective.

[swoon.gif]

Although I guess its a propos to going berserk on your wine!
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #14  Postby Bob Wood » January 2nd 2012, 7:45pm

If I had a $250 corkscrew I'd probably be more anal about it. But I don't and I'm not. [snort.gif]
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #15  Postby Warren Taranow » January 2nd 2012, 7:48pm

I think it depends on the preference and experience of the mohel.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #16  Postby chaad thomas » January 2nd 2012, 7:56pm

Warren Taranow wrote:I think it depends on the preference and experience of the mohel.

[smileyvault-ban.gif]

Not only do I not like thinking of a capsule as the foreskin of the bottle, I don't like thinking of a mohel trimming it back all the way to the anus. Gaaaack!!
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #17  Postby Kris Patten » January 2nd 2012, 8:14pm

Standard of service is under. Goes back to lead capsules and not wanting to pour the wine over lead, also keeps annoying drips from collecting on foil if you cut over. If you ever want to pass a Somm exam cut under. It also let's you control the blade when you cut under versus over.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #18  Postby Randy Bowman » January 2nd 2012, 8:25pm

A quick slit from the bottom of the capsule to the annulus and pull the whole off. Takes a few seconds.

Also. Have you noticed most foil cutters these days are made to cut over.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #19  Postby NickWittman » January 2nd 2012, 9:52pm

Cut over, unless it is going to be served blind, then removed the entire capsole . . .
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #20  Postby Todd Hamina » January 2nd 2012, 10:19pm

Under.
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Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #21  Postby M. Sai » January 2nd 2012, 10:27pm

I don't bother with the knife, just use the worm to slice the capsule at the bottom and then tear the entire thing off. I open a fair amount of old wines so this also gives me the chance to inspect the cork through the glass and decide if the Drand needs to be used.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #22  Postby GregT » January 3rd 2012, 7:25am

So Chaad, FWIW I never imagined but there's actually an etiquette to the thing.

Jacques Pepin was talking about it once and he mentioned that it was déclassé to remove the entire capsule, and even rude!

"WTF? Who cares?" I thought.

But it bugged me because I like him and don't like foolish obsessions. Anyhow,apparently the proper way is over the annulus. Except I'm looking at a bottle right now that doesn't allow that as the annulus goes straight up. So I cut below and it looks just fine.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #23  Postby David Wright » January 3rd 2012, 7:42am

I wonder how many of the folks who answered "above" did so because they use a foil-cutter gizmo that only cuts above (i.e., it is the default, and not really a choice)?
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #24  Postby John Morris » January 3rd 2012, 8:01am

GregT wrote:So Chaad, FWIW I never imagined but there's actually an etiquette to the thing.

Jacques Pepin was talking about it once and he mentioned that it was déclassé to remove the entire capsule, and even rude!

"WTF? Who cares?" I thought.

But it bugged me because I like him and don't like foolish obsessions. Anyhow,apparently the proper way is over the annulus. Except I'm looking at a bottle right now that doesn't allow that as the annulus goes straight up. So I cut below and it looks just fine.


When capsules were made of lead, leaving all but the top was a bad idea. So your friend Jacques is lucky he didn't die of lead poisoning, I'd say.

Out of force of habit from the lead era, plus years of regular blind tastings, I take the whole thing off most of the time.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #25  Postby andy velebil » January 3rd 2012, 8:29am

John Morris wrote:
When capsules were made of lead, leaving all but the top was a bad idea. So your friend Jacques is lucky he didn't die of lead poisoning, I'd say.

Out of force of habit from the lead era, plus years of regular blind tastings, I take the whole thing off most of the time.

This thinking has always been lost on me. From what I recall in school, which isn't much these days, wine would need to be in contact with the lead capsule a long time before it started to leach out and absorb some bad things from the capsule. Pouring it quickly over it and into a glass where there would be almost no contact to begin with shouldn't have any measurable impact at all. Even if you cut it near the top, at best only a small amount of wine MAY touch the capsule at all.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #26  Postby David Wright » January 3rd 2012, 8:33am

But when the wine was poured over the lip of the bottle, where deposits from the foil capsule could have accummulated, both imported and domestic wines exceeded the standard for water, in some cases by up to three times.

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/02/us/le ... water.html
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #27  Postby andy velebil » January 3rd 2012, 8:44am

David Wright wrote:
But when the wine was poured over the lip of the bottle, where deposits from the foil capsule could have accummulated, both imported and domestic wines exceeded the standard for water, in some cases by up to three times.

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/02/us/le ... water.html

The results showed that domestic wines typically had far lower amounts of lead than imports. Indeed the average lead content for domestic wines fell below the Environmental Protection Agency's current standard for drinking water.

See another reason to avoid Bordeaux [stirthepothal.gif] neener

Ok, so just use a wet towel and wipe off the top of the bottle when you cut off the capsule and problem solved. Actually I wipe off the top of any old bottle regardless of what part (or all) of the capsule I remove.

EDIT:

And I love this part of the article
Some of the wines tested contained high levels of lead in samples drawn directly from the bottle, even when the bottles had no lead caps, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms drew no conclusions about the source.

So you get lead levels in wines without any capsule and yet your final conclusion is that lead wine capsules are what is imparting lead into the wine. [head-bang.gif] Oh and this is a 21 year old study. Curious as to what the full report reads.

"Although the lead levels found do not pose an immediate or short-term threat to consumers, we at F.D.A. are concerned with long-term exposure,"

Allow me to translate, "We have no idea really and are just guessing as usual since we have to say something" [whistle.gif]

In the meantime, consumers can reduce the risk of lead consumption by removing the foil and wiping the lips of wine bottles with a damp cloth or paper towel, he said.

All is OK again [swoon.gif]
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #28  Postby David Wright » January 3rd 2012, 8:53am

The point, if you care to grasp it, is that historically there really was a sound reason for cutting the capsule below the annulus...
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #29  Postby chaad thomas » January 3rd 2012, 9:14am

David Wright wrote:The point, if you care to grasp it, is that historically there really was a sound reason for cutting the capsule below the annulus...

I think that's debatable. A reading of Lead Diseases: a Treatise, by Louis Tanquerel de Planches, whom has been called "the Columbus of lead poising", and which was published in 1848, makes clear his finding that lead poisoning of workers who handled lead in a "fixed state" was very low, and that the real danger of lead toxicity arose from inhalation. It would seem, to me at least, given that workers who handled lead sheeting on a daily basis in the early 1800s weren't falling out crazy, that the likelihood of ingesting enough particulate lead from the capsule remnants to be dangerous is vanishingly low.

Furthermore, as I noted initially and as GregT reports from the chef Jaques Pepin, the European tradition is to cut above the annulus, the Court of Master Sommeliers notwithstanding.

Reading from the Court's service standards guidelines (for '11), they explain "The foil is cut at the second lip to prevent the wine from dripping behind the foil and contaminating future pours." I can only guess at what that means, but the omission of lead toxicity, which would seem to be a pretty damn good reason for the practice, raises the question of what their concern is. Could it be they're worried about acetobacter contaminating the wine behind the foil, and subsequently, future pours?

It seems equally likely that the practice arose from the exigencies of table side service, as I noted myself having discovered from working as a somm. It's simply easier and more secure to cut under when you're holding a bottle.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do think there's plenty of room for skepticism of the toxicity claim as a prime factor in where the foil is cut.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #30  Postby John Morris » January 3rd 2012, 9:24am

Andy -- Some of the research back in the 90s showed that the first pour over the lip had the highest lead content and it declined with each pour, strongly suggesting that it was coming from lead residue on the bottle, so I don't the evidence is so easily dismissed based on reading a brief news story.

FYI, the EU and California moved to ban lead capsules before the FDA.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #31  Postby David Wright » January 3rd 2012, 9:41am

chaad thomas wrote:
David Wright wrote:The point, if you care to grasp it, is that historically there really was a sound reason for cutting the capsule below the annulus...

I think that's debatable.

It's pretty simple... cutting a lead capsule below the annulus reduces the chance of wine contacting lead while pouring. That is not debatable.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #32  Postby chaad thomas » January 3rd 2012, 9:44am

John Morris wrote:Andy -- Some of the research back in the 90s showed that the first pour over the lip had the highest lead content and it declined with each pour, strongly suggesting that it was coming from lead residue on the bottle, so I don't the evidence is so easily dismissed based on reading a brief news story.

FYI, the EU and California moved to ban lead capsules before the FDA.

There are two issues here:

1. lead capsules were an unnecessary risk; no doubt

2. was concern over lead poisoning the reason, in the past, that some (e.g. CMS) cut under the annulus?

Given the CMS was founded in '77, it seems entirely possible that lead concern was a factor, because that's the period, if I recall rightly, that the whole lead awareness thing, e.g. in paint, was underway.

Surely the practice of cutting under existed before 1977, no?
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #33  Postby Dick Krueger » January 3rd 2012, 9:53am

I usually cut above the the annulus, using a foil cutter. Sometime the capsule rips and i take the whole thing off.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #34  Postby Dick Krueger » January 3rd 2012, 9:53am

I usually cut above the the annulus, using a foil cutter. Sometime the capsule rips and i take the whole thing off.
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Re: Are you an Over, or Under, type when it comes to capsule cutting?

Post #35  Postby David M. Bueker » January 3rd 2012, 10:24am

Get rid of the capsule. It's useless ornamentation.
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