Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two More Ruined by Plastic (California / New Zealand)

I am about to get up on my soapbox ... let me just drag it over here ... test it's stability ... tap the microphone ... and here we go:

Two fallen soldiers with tarnished toppers
Tonight I was appalled and also embarrassed by what I found under two, count 'em, two capsules ... neither was expected and neither was welcome - plastic cork.  I don't know what the fascination with plastic cork was in the mid-2000's but for god sake it is really starting to get on my very last nerve.  I understand that natural cork was letting us all down (at the least 10% of the time) and I get the point that screwcap looked cheap - but to opt for something like plastic, who thought that was a good idea?  Now in truth, of the two bottles I opened I had real faith in one of them, the other was more of a lark:  Delicato 2005 Merlot and Cooper's Creek 2003 Tom Cat Merlot ... I suspect you can guess the serious versus the lark ... but both wines were absolutely horrible (worse than I ever imagined), and that is not what I was expecting from Delicato.  Let's start by describing the wines in there present form ... and I must say these aren't all my words.  [Sidebar:  the reason I was also embarrassed (just a little) was that I opened these wines up for my wine class in the hopes of showing at least one good aged Merlot]  The Delicato wine was oxidized, funky and off-putting, "wet old shoes" was one of the descriptors used on this night ... the wine was prematurely aged and undrinkable.  But that wasn't half as bad as the Tom Cat - (now how much faith can you put into a wine like this?) but the odor was horrible, one student mention it smelled like their "green bin" the other said "rotting vegetables" ... whatever moniker you put to it it was not good, not good at all.  

Once again I make the plea to producers to please, please, please in the name of all that's good and holy to please put on your labels some indication that the wine is sealed with a synthetic cork (read: plastic), that way I, as a consumer of your product, will know not to lie it down - in fact I'll make a special rack in my cellar specifically for plastic corked bottles, those are the ones I can open immediately or as the fourth bottle on a bacchanalia-like evening, you know that time of night when nobody can tell the difference between a good bottle and rot-gut.  The sad part is that with all the research about plastic corks and longevity there are still wineries who insist on putting "reserve" designated wines under plastic cork (one I know about right here in Ontario just released some beauty 2007's under this closure, say goodbye to them by next year).  Something has to be done.  As consumers we have to start demanding better labeling for instances of plastic cork ... as a writer I have to make it my mission to alert everyone about plastic cork on bottles, that way I at least give them fair-warning before they make the decision to lie it down.  Plastic cork is fine for drink-now bottles (2 years max) but for anything you hope to have a future with (say 5+ years) no plastic should  be used.

Funny thing, it just so happens that I am going to visit the largest manufacturer of plastic cork (NomaCorc) later this month, I will have plenty to say on the issue of plastic corks ... I would love to hear what they think of the age-ability of wine under their product ... I can bet you dollars to donuts they're going to tell me their research is much different than my practical findings.  I know, keep an open mind and all - but I can't seem to get over the number of bottles I have encountered that have been totally ruined by a ill-placed and ill-thought out closure ... maybe that's a little harsh ... the question comes down to this:  do you blame the closure or do you blame the producer?  The closure is inferior for long term aging - the producer is negligent in not telling you about the closure ... maybe I've found my culprit - now how do we get wineries to tell us about their choice of bottle sealant?  Earlier this week I had lunch with a major Italian wine producer, and he seemed intrigued by the concept of putting that kind of information on the label ... will I have to make my pitch one winery at a time?  Or better yet, why don't we all put the bug in their collective ears.

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