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March 23, 2007

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Robin,
Miss your winery. I just had a bottle of your Broadfields 2002 Cab Franc last night and it was ageing exceptionally well. I've got 1 bottle left... I only wish I had more.

As for screw caps, I might miss the tradition of using a hand cork screw, but I won't miss pouring out bad bottles. So let the revolution begin - bring on the screw caps!

Hi Robin,

I'm curious about your statement, "Of course, inexpensive synthetic corks have their own quality issues."

Nowhere in your article did you enumerate any of these quality issues, and I'm curious what they are.

My only complaint about them is that my screwpull opener seems pushes these corks into the bottle rather than pull them out...

Randy,

That comment was added by our all powerful editor, so I will defer to him for a response :)

I've actually broken a few corkscrews on those damn synthetic corks, so I share your pain...

I don't remember adding that (this piece was edited months ago) but I do have some concerns with synthetic corks.

One is the one you both mention...they can be impossible to get out of the bottle.

Two, I know that some synthetics are made with completely inert compounds, but I have had some wines bottled with some that are clearly not inert--there were definite burnt rubber-type notes on the nose.

Three, I've had several oxidized bottles...and in doing a little research, apparently the synthetic corks can sometimes let more air in that natural cork because it doesn't compress and then expand the way natural cork does.

I say bring on the screwcaps!

The all powerful editor!

Over the past several years, the study of synthetic corks has shown them to be at best, a temporary solution to the problem of natural cork taint. Researchers at Cornell and elsewhere have shown that the material used in "plastic" corks breaks down from the acids and alcohol in wine after only a few years. Most studies show that these closures will last 2-4 years at most. Not a very good product. Screw caps are a far better alternative to natural cork and have shown to last at least 30 years with positive results.

So let me ask the leading question... if a plastic cork can be a problem, and there is a little piece of plastic in every screwcap that performs the actual seal, then why isn't the plastic in the screwcap a similar problem?

(We only use screwcaps on wines that we release immediately...)

From what I understand it's a physics issue. Synthetic corks are made from polymers used to create the air spaces or bubbles which can contract to create the seal (like the pores in a natural cork) These "bubbles" begin to break over time reducing elasticity leading to failure. The screw cap seal depends on the torque of the cap forced down tightly over a threaded glass bottle. It seems the exposure of the smaller surface area on the top of the cap is not affected as much. In fact there are some screw caps that have been developed by Stelvin that are supposedly more porous in order to allow the wine greater oxygen exchange.

I'm new to the world of wine but you make an excellent case for screwcaps. I will look further into this..

Thanks!

Came across your article on screw caps and I am all for it. But...I did have an experience with one the other night. The screw top was damaged when I brought the wine home from the store. I did not notice it till I laid it in my wine rack and it started dripping. I drank the wine anyway and found that it was still good. If you are interested, see my post regarding this cap with photo on my blog. Thanks!

ah, Robin, couldn't stay away, could ya? Well, welcome back, welcome back!

I posted back on March 23rd (as Dave) that I just had an 02 Cab Franc that was wonderful and had only 1 left. Well as of last night, I'm now officially (and unfortunately) out of Broadfields wine from my cellar.
The 02 Franc was excellent last night... even better than I remember from March. It really aged nicely and did not in any way seem to be fading or past its prime.
Now I REALLY wish I had some more stocked around.

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