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July 28, 2010


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I enjoy Rooster Hill wines, love the Gewurztraminer, but I agree that the use of a synthetic cork is a big negative. I realize that most consumers purchase wine with the expectation of drinking it within a short period of time. Personally, I prefer to store good wines for at least a year or two, they almost always mature a little bit. Unfortunately, I have lost numerous wines to oxidation due to a poor seal from synthetic corks. I have stopped purchasing wines that are sealed this way, they just are not worth it. Spending money on the "tasting experience" is certainly a good investment by the winery. But if they want to be recognized on a larger scale then they need to re-examine the way they package their wine.

Rooster Hill has a quaint tasting room on the shore of Keuka Lake (and a giant rooster in front!). They made good wines and have high hopes. For a different taste, try out their Port style.

I can say with certainty that Rooster Hill remains one of our favorite "must stop" places in the Finger Lakes. The wines are good-to-spectacular, the tastings well-thought-out, and the people warm and friendly. Sure you pay a little more, and the synthetic cork thing is an issue, but compared with most other places those are minor concerns.

I stopped in at Rooster Hill a few days ago (actually decided on it the morning this article posted as I was planning on visiting McGregor anyway, and saw this before I left). The tasting room expirience was solid, definitely professional albeit a touch stiff, however, I am always a bit miffed why wineries split their tastings into normal and reserve tastings and taste them as totally seperate flights. Similar to Red Newt, where I'd like to try some of their cheaper stuff as well as some of their single vineyard stuff, it forces you to ask to be an exception rather than encourages you to try a range. I understand incresed fees for the reserve tastes, but it is much more appealing to me to have a tasting fee that covers most of the bottlings, and then per wine extra fees for limited reserves, rather than creating two categories. But that's just a side thought.

My real reason for posting is I bought a few things over the course of the summer that I think have real aging potential, but some are sealed by synthetic cork. Anyone here have an opinion on whether to store these bottles upright to limit contact with the plastic and foam? Or does that not really matter in the scheme of their aging? I'll also post this on one of today's articles in case people aren't reading back this far.


Brad- Do not store any bottles that have synthetic corks for any length of time. The second these stoppers are inserted, air gets in. If you want a good test, try using a cork "popper", something that uses air pressure for removing the enclosure. You will hear the air escaping from the seal as you try to apply pressure. I have a good collection of vintage finger lake wines 5-10 years old. Do not waste your time saving anything that is not sealed properly, just not worth it. There are so many good wines being made in the finger lakes, cellar the ones that are packaged with a good seal.

Howie - I've had some that have aged well under synthetic, it certainly isn't all bad, besides, cork allows air too, thats part of the point. The current extruded corks are actually quite good at keeping a consistent tight seal, it was the old molded polyurethane bricks that weren't at all up to snuff. I have had a couple though (out of the perhaps dozen at or over 5 years in bottle) that have had some sort of plasticy-ness to them and thats more what the question is directed. Is that going to happen regardless of bottle orientation, or is it compounded or alleviated if the bottle is on its side/upside down?

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