Premox in Loire SB (yes, you can age a few)

Agreed, Jayson.

As has been discussed in other threads, Premox, at least within the trade, has come to have a definition that is specific in that the early oxidation is the result of an error(s) that originates within the winery and it tends to effect a significant portion of production. Random cork failures, abuse along the distribution chain, really isn’t premox. Nor is it premox unless many markets, globally, are affected.

I can second the 13 vatan

by nature most corks are inconsistent though. That’s the argument for diam/screw caps - consistency.

Premox is two fold

  1. winemaking
  2. inconsistent corks

Put them together and you get premox. You won’t have one without the other.

The analogy i always think is this

Domaine A makes a wine that starts 50% away from oxidation - under a perfect seal it takes 15 years to oxidize.
Domaine B makes a wine that starts at 10% away from oxidation = under a perfect seal it takes 40 years to oxidize.

Assume that all corks are not perfect seals - one half of corks allow a 50% bump in oxidation after 5 years, the other half are only a 10% bump

Domaine A has wines that have hit the 100% in 5 years and are premox’d but others are only at 60% and taste fine
Domaine B has no wines that have oxidized, half the wines are 40% away from oxidation and the rest are 20% away from oxidation. Even with the inconsistent oxygen ingress, there still isn’t premox cause of the winemaking style.

You put in a Diam or Screwcap that allows the wine to age under a perfect seal (supposedly)

Domaine A’s wine consistently will last the full 15 years to oxidize
Domaine B’s wine will last the full 40 years to oxidize.

I’ve had Joly wines that seemed poxed but that’s just sort of the style they are made in and with time they seem to air out the funk. Such a unique wine.

Edit-all were 2011’s

You have a case of 12 bottles. 2 or three are perfect, 2 or three are completely shot, the rest are dull. The only variable is the cork. The fact that two or three are perfect means that all of the others have oxidised prematurely (premox). The only variable is the cork. It is indeed inconsistent.

The cause of the oxidation is cork failure and or abuse along the way. Not something the winery did or didn’t do during the winemaking/bottling process, which is what the definition of premox has come to mean.

Following this thread hoping to get “educated” a bit on the topic. Many of the posts seem to be pointing the finger at cork inconsistency, some almost dogmatically so, as if that were the end of the discussion about the issue. Is that true? I did some Googling and there seems to be other points of view (heresy?). Came across the name of Dr Valérie Lavigne a researcher who seems to point to other possible issues. Google if interested. Cheers.

I don’t think anyone that I know points to corks as the sole culprit. I do think that the variance of cork transmission is extremely likely to be a factor in the randomness of what most of us call premox.
I love the idea that one can only talk about premox is you can trace it to specific errors by the winemakers, while the causes are still debated.

I’m very aware that random cork failure can occur. But 3 random cork failures out of 9 bottles opened seems unusual. And abuse would generally affect all the bottles, not 33%. This reminded me of when 15-20 years ago I ran into a bunch of advanced bottles, one totally oxidized bottles, and a bunch of really nice bottles of '96-99 Bonneau du Martray CC. People said “off bottles” or “bad storage.” But all from same source. Similar experiences with 01 DDC & Louviere Blanc, '02 Huets, etc.

There are wines from hotter vintages where I don’t like the aging profile ('09 Cotat) but it’s every bottle not random.

To me when a wine:

  1. has a history of aging
  2. in it’s youth shows the structural elements that one expects in a wine that ages well
  3. has multiple bottles from the same source/storage that vary dramatically
    that is random premature oxidation. Whether I know anything about the winemaking or not.

I’m not extrapolating past this particular case, which is why I asked the question.

I have a lone btl of 2009 vatan clos la neore, would the wax cap have any effect on the possibility of premox? Or would the 15% ABV be the ultimate culprit?

I’m almost scared to try that bottling, 15%abv is such an abberration in vatan it seems.