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  • I would love to see Pegau available with both a cork and stelvin closure. I would buy a case of each from a good vintage and do my own study side by side over a number of years and thereafter, buy the one that I thought was best. I don't care about the tradition of corks and I don't care about the process needed to open it as long as it isn't too onerous. It is all about the taste. Let me do my own experiment. I am ready to put my money where my mouth is.

    How are those Plumpjack wines coming that were bottled both ways? Do we have any tasters and commentary?

    I for one believe the cork industry's days are numbered and alternative closures will eventually win out.

    Byron

    Comment


    • Paul,
      there have been numerous such trials in Australia starting in the 60s - from rieslings to grange.

      A central theme of my argument has been (for the last few years) that the anti-Stelvin argument, based on the existence of little or no data, is not correct. And further, that there is plenty of data against cork.

      Secondly, the constant argument about how wine ages is both ill informed and a smoke screen. If the trials indicate that Stelvin produces better wine over time (less variability, no TCA, random oxidaiton et al) then it is at best a moot point. it suggests in itself that smaller oxygen is better.

      Yet having researched the topic in some detail, and having good access to recent data, the evidence points to the following:

      A. The maturation and development of cork is chemical (anaerobic) and aerobic. Irrespective of oxygen, there is still development of the wine

      B. The development of wine is accelerated by addition of energy in the form of light, heat, vibration. We all recognise this anecdotally and interestingly we accept it without the need for scientific data (which does exist by the way). This acelerated development does NOT rely on oxygen.

      C. We do not know exactly what the ideal amount of oxygen is, but again, this will depend on many factors and an ideal level is likely to vary substantially - inlcuding our own expectations and preferences. The data indicates that wine is better with less oxygen - which Stelvin provides.

      D. ther is ALWAYS oxygen in the bottle. We are talking about how much, not if there is any.

      Those who consistently argue that not much is known about maturation of wine need to sniff the roses. There is a lot of data on it, though again there is no specificv benchmark for it (and I do not see that as a barrier to Stelvin - this argument could be used equally as a barrier to cork per se). We should not use that as a barrier to change as the evidence supports limiting oxygen.
      Mark Dignam

      Comment


      • Dissolved Oxygen is tested routinely here.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Claudius:
          A. The maturation and development of cork is chemical (anaerobic) and aerobic. Irrespective of oxygen, there is still development of the wine
          Without intending to pick on you personally, this quote highlights what is so infuriating to those of us with a scientific background: Chemical =/= anaerobic.

          When we see such imprecise or inaccurate use of scientific terms (or ones like double-blind), we are not going to take the arguments seriously, especially when they are presented as being backed by science or experiment.

          A.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Andrew Hall:
            I think the initial (and arbitrary) 80% occurred in response to assertions that wines to be bottled under screw-caps would need to be specially manipulated to avoid problems like reduction. Very earlier in this thread, fining with Cu to remove reactive sulfur was mentioned....
            There is no suggestion that all wines to be bottled under screwcaps would need to be so treated.

            This highlights what is probably the biggest concern - all the evidence and anecdote of screw-cap maintained wines are from a subset of wines that are, IMO, the most processed, manipulated and technical wines. (Not to say bad wines, necessarily.) Wines that we truly love, say Joly's Coulee de Serrant or a Bonneau wine, are made a certain way and made with the intent of lasting in their traditional enclosure. Any changes in the process of making the wine endangers what we love about that wine.
            Wine is not made 'with the intent' of being bottled under cork; the container is just a way of preserving the wine until it gets to the consumer. The fine Austrian producer Hirsh has just switched to screwcaps, and the pressure from the UK market will doubtless lead more old world wineries to consider the technology.

            As has been pointed out above, the sparkling wine equivalent of the screwcap is the crown cap, which is already used by almost all Champagne producers until the last moment, when they put corks in for the customers to see.
            Oliver McCrum

            Oliver McCrum Wines

            Comment


            • Speaking of crown caps, I was surprised to see crown caps on the 2003 Peter Jacob Kuhn Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett I recencently purchased. The crown cap is hidden under a plastic collar, which is covered by a capsule to hide the fact from the casual observer. Where is that beer-bottle opener when I need it?
              http://sweetandsourspectator.org
              “Claret is the liquor for boys, Port for men.”

              Comment


              • To add to Andrews point, if aerobic = oxygen, then it cannot be irrespective of oxygen. The problem with the pro-stelvin crowd is that there exists SOME science to back your assertions, but it is not as conclusive as you think and thus not enough evidence to switch.

                Your B is absolutely false. We do not KNOW this by anything but journalistic assertions. Sorry but I have access to EVERY peer reviewed journal regarding enology and viticulture and NOT one paper has been ever been published that proves that maturation does not rely on oxygen (there are a great number that assert either side, but yet no proof).

                C is also a conclusion based upon thin assertions and NO facts.

                D as noted in about a zillion threads above, concentrations of different chemicals result in the matrix acting very differently. (more H+ ions and you get acid). Get the picture.

                Also measuring dissolved oxygen is only a small piece of the picture. The surface effect of AIR that is passing through the cork (air is only 16% oxygen) has some chemical signficance since we know that if we leave a glass of wine out on the counter it oxdizes very quickly. Since air is mostly Nitrogen why aren't we discussing nitrogen's effect on wine?

                I have to agree with Andrew, it becomes very frustrating arguing these points when basic scientific facts are either ignored or glossed over to make your point. I and others have asserted our support for Stelvin trials based on scientific methods - why the zealotry on the pro-stelvin side?

                cHEERs
                J. Michael Havelka
                aka Wine Rescue

                When something defies a physical law there us usually politics involved. PJ O'Rourke

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Scott Manlin:
                  Tyson... if you really need me, a banker, to explain to you how to construct a reasonable scientific study... you should pursue a different vocation... you isolated ONE variable... and to use your expression... IT IS UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED that many variables contribute to the development of wine...
                  Scott,

                  Given that Tyson is taking his time to explain his expert opinion to us, I think your tone's way off. No reason not to be as civil as Tyson is being, whether you agree with him or not.

                  How wine ages is hardly universally accepted. It used to be thought that oxygen passing through the cork was necessary, now it's thought to be unnecessary. The data TS quotes shows that corks allow the passage of oxygen at widely varying rates, so whatever the ideal is at least some of the corks aren't meeting it.
                  Oliver McCrum

                  Oliver McCrum Wines

                  Comment


                  • Oliver

                    Sorry to offend but I take umbridge to the assertion that only Tyson's opionion is expert. On this site winemakers and range of very good scientists with a wealth of knowledge post regularly. Because he supports your position does not make him an expert. If he is, so are a lot of other folks.

                    cHEERs
                    J. Michael Havelka
                    aka Wine Rescue

                    When something defies a physical law there us usually politics involved. PJ O'Rourke

                    Comment


                    • Michael,

                      Starting off 'Sorry to offend' isn't civil either. Besides, who asserted that 'only Tyson's opinion is expert?' I certainly didn't.

                      'Because he supports your position doesn't make him expert.' Well no, it doesn't, you're quite right. Something else does.

                      It's 'umbrage,' by the way.
                      Oliver McCrum

                      Oliver McCrum Wines

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Oliver McCrum:


                        It's 'umbrage,' by the way.
                        umbrage \UHM-brij\, noun:
                        1. Shade; shadow; hence, something that affords a shade, as a screen of trees or foliage.
                        2. a. A vague or indistinct indication or suggestion; a hint.
                        b. Reason for doubt; suspicion.
                        3. Suspicion of injury or wrong; offense; resentment.
                        J. Michael Havelka
                        aka Wine Rescue

                        When something defies a physical law there us usually politics involved. PJ O'Rourke

                        Comment


                        • I should have said "Sorry if I offend".
                          J. Michael Havelka
                          aka Wine Rescue

                          When something defies a physical law there us usually politics involved. PJ O'Rourke

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Oliver McCrum:
                            Wine is not made 'with the intent' of being bottled under cork; the container is just a way of preserving the wine until it gets to the consumer.
                            Intent may be too nuanced a word, but generations of winemakers have certainly adapted their cellar practices to account for how the wine will reach the consumer. Even if they don't do it explicitly and conciously, the weight of empirical trial and error will lead to this. Eg, if I do X this year to the wine and it becomes crappy in 5 years, I don't do it again. If the reason for the crapiness is some inherent factor of the cork, method X will be selected out of the winemaker's repetoire, even if she is not aware of the reason. Many winemakers make their wines with the intent that it age under cork for 10-20 years. Change the stopper, you change the resultant wine unless cork == screw-cap which is emphatically not what proponents are arguing.

                            A.

                            Comment

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