The great cork debate
Posted:17 August 2018

Let’s get this over with first…we love using natural cork for our Reserve wines. But despite lots of reassurances from the cork industry that they are solving the problem of corkiness in wines, we continue to experience very occasional problems.

Having gone to lots of trouble to look after the grapes and make great wine, it’s really upsetting for us to think that your enjoyment might be spoiled by a fault in the closure, so you’ll notice a change in the 2016 Reserve wines as we are using a closure which is becoming increasingly popular called “Diam”.

So what causes corked wine? It happens when the cork is infected by a substance called trichloloanisole(TCA), which can be transmitted from cork or even wood such as pallets in the winery. The result is a corky, musty smelling taint of differing degrees. The other problem with natural cork is the natural variation between different corks in porosity to air, which can lead to extreme variations in oxidation of the wine.

This has been particularly noticeable in white burgundy, but can also be apparent in our white Reserve which has much in common with those great wines.

The Diam process chops the cork into tiny pieces and uses carbon dioxide to remove any traces of TCA, in the same way as caffeine is removed from coffee. It also sorts the superior, highly elastic suberin component from the less elastic lignin which is discarded. It then mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance that’s used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing the porosity to air and increasing elasticity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. Phew!

You can look out for Diam’s in the fabulous 2016 Reserve wines which will be released in the UK next month.

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