Today, Winebusiness.com reported on an unusual tasting which took place in Yountville, CA three days ago. During a Maters of Wine seminar, participants blindly tasted four 2004 Washington sauvignon blancs – all finished with a different closure.
The point of the exercise seems to have been to correctly identify the type of closure used in each bottling and to select a group favorite. The participants were not given a list of choices, so it can be said that they were not suggested to make guesses or change their answers.
The full results of the challenge are not provided, but I would like to have seen a bottling finished with a natural cork thrown into the mix. The tasting – though small, limited and not necessarily a formal, empirical study, gives some insights into the status quo of synthetic closures. It would have been interesting to see if the MWs pegged the closures correctly and which closure they seemed to prefer the most. After all, the whole point of using synthetic closures is to gain some advantage over natural cork.
There are two camps in the pro-synthetic closure movement: those who favor these types of closures because they reduce flaws in ready-to-market, ready-to-drink wines which are not built to age, and those who want to eliminate cork taint while maintaining ageability. I suspect the former makes up the majority.
Additionally, the article mentions Supreme Corq’s X2 a synthetic closure with improved O2 ingress – as compared to their original closure. This tasting would suggest they are getting there. (check out Supreme Corq’s web site).
A post with follow discussion of this tasting is found here.
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