Plastic cork experiment (unplanned)

Some years back I’d bought a bottle of 2005 Gaia Santorini Assyrtiko while visiting my mother. From the vintage, I’d guess I bought this around 2007. It ended up stashed away in her cellar, which has near-perfect storage conditions.

I popped it open on Christmas Eve. Expectations were low, and reasonably so. It has some marked oxidative notes, which became more sherry-like after the bottle was open for a while. It had a wonderful acidity, though, and it if weren’t for the darned plastic cork, I suspect this wine would have aged very nicely. Too bad they didn’t use a screw cap or a real cork.

Wasn’t all that long ago that I discovered I still had a 2002 Christoffel Kabinett in the cellar with a plastic cork. Utter disaster for that bottle, while the 2001 kabinetts are still chugging along with years to go under real cork, and the later wines are just fine under cap.

Too bad. I thought we would hear the Frankenstein cheer: “Ittttt’s A-L-I-V-E!!!”

Plastic corks are the worst, and it’s shocking that they were ever used for age worthy wines.

Yep, one of the ‘innovations’ that truly did not work in our industry. If you remember, closure innovations were created generally for two reasons:

  1. To save costs
  2. Due to high failure rates of corks, especially in Australia/New Zealand

Corks certainly are still, in general, more expensive than other closures, but not that much so that folks use this is the main reason to use other closures. Failure rates on the other hand . . .


In fairness, I’m sure the assyrtiko wasn’t intended to be aged. But I think it had enough acid that it would have done nicely with a better seal.

I haven’t had that wine in a couple of years. I wonder what closures they’re using now. It’s a lovely wine when it’s fresh.

I should add that this madeirized in a very controlled way so it ended up being a little bit like a very light dry sherry.

Maybe I can add my rant about Nomacorc right about now. A case of 2005 Bourgogne, all shot. Novellum can be a nice, cheap chard but make sure it’s the latest release or they’re dead. A couple of Sancerre rouge, also 2005, goners.

The problem with Nomacorc is that you have no idea if it’s being used until you peel the capsule. Nomacorc sucks!

interesting. Nomacorc claims their products last longer than most other synthetics.

According to Nomacorc’s website, Ken Wright has been using them for more than a decade.

Yes, and I’ve had dead bottles of his that should have still been fine. I think he is foolish to use them.

I actually wrote to the winemakers beseeching them to try and use something else for closure. The stuffing in these, when they are just released, screams “meaningful mid-term ageing material” to me. I suspect me being the only person on earth who has been systematically trying to age “Thalassitis” beyond five years out just to see how it turns out probably has something to do with why they never replied :slight_smile:

Same old for 2013. What a shame.

Maybe we should buy some and recork it with natural corks. :slight_smile:

John - that might be a good idea! I’ve had some wines that aged under plastic very nicely, but for the most part I think the plastic “corks” are the worst of all possible closures. They strip the Teflon off your corkscrew (if it’s Teflon coated), they don’t seal nearly as well as other closures, and I’ve even had “corked” wine from a bottle sealed with a plastic stopper. So they didn’t even get the benefit they thought they’d be getting.

If you have a place that has a real currency problem and has a hard time getting hard cash to pay for products, like say, Argentina, I can understand the use of plastic. And of course, that’s where I got the corked wine. But anywhere else it’s just irritating.

You’d think that material science would be such that they’d be able to produce a decent closure!

He stopped using them.
He started around 2001 and ended using them around 06’

It has, the screw cap.

Very interesting. I wonder if he knows that Nomacorc is still boasting about him being a customer.

Then I should have said was rather than is.

That makes sense, he used them long enough to realize that the older bottles were starting to go.