It happened again today.
I went to open a bottle of 2018 Bierzo from Veronica Ortega.
Damnation, wax capsule.
Chip away, make a mess, necessarily leave some on the outside of the bottle.
Wipe away the bits that inevitably remain around – and on the inside of – the neck of the bottle.
Why, oh why do producers do this?
I see no positive side whatsoever. Do you?
It cab be pointed out that there are supple wax capsules. Although useless, these are admittedly much easier to remove. But, hell, other than standing out for marketing purposes, I see no justification.
If tradition is the answer, I’d say that there are good and bad traditions, and that this is one of the latter.
I usually open it over the sink if I have access to one, pull the cork up slightly, blow or wipe away the particles, and trim extra wax if I think it will get inside the bottle or interfere with pouring.
Not many bottles left with hard wax for me, save for Puffeney, so I don’t quite mind the hassle to get to the juice. The only other one I would knowingly buy would be Raveneau, and that ain’t happening soon .
If you are chipping or cutting, you are doing it wrong.
Stick the corkscrew into the center of the top, give it a slight pull, the center of the wax top should break. You can then continue to pull it out or if it’s an older bottle, you can insert an ahso at this point.
Pulling it directly through the wax capsule is not foolproof. In multiple cases, I’ve had the cork break while trying to pull directly through wax, as the wax was too tough to give way to the cork fully. I watched one friend try this on an older bottle (2001 burg, not even that old), and his corkscrew shredded the center of the cork creating an unholy mess of little bits falling into the bottle.
The hot water treatment also only works on younger softer wax capsules - it doesn’t do much good on old crusty curmudgeon wax.
Multiple threads about this. Some producers (PYCM and Lamy in St Aubin come to mind) believe that the wax is an added edge in fight against premox.
I don’t have the technical chops to know if that is based on science, but I have found those wines have a good track record. Personally I don’t think it takes me any longer to open their wines than those with a traditional capsule.
Sorry if this has already been debated previously on the forum.
If wax capsules help fight against premox, I’d be very interested to hear if there is any reason for this. It sounds kind of off-the-wall.
You say that you take no longer to open wine with wax capsules than any other kind. With the soft wax, I can believe it. But, I promise you, if you were confronted with the one I took off today, it wasn’t like that.