No Closure

February 13th, 2009

Closures. From


Today, 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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5 Responses to “No Closure”

  1. Sam Says:

    Respectfully, there are more than two camps regarding the question of synthetic closures. From a marketing point of view, I would offer that the single most important advantage of screw caps, is simply one of convenience. If one needed a corkscrew to open a a can of Coke, I dare say that it would not enjoy its current global success.

    I understand that there was a clear winner in this tasting – another article I read suggested that the group had a clear preference for the wine in a screw cap w/foam liner.

  2. Scott Says:

    My first closure trial was four of my 2001 vintage wines which I packed finished cases with 6 natural corks and six extruded plastics closures. The cork finished bottles have given many different looks at these wines while the Neocork product has been consistent throughout. As I prepare for a new trial, my 2008 viognier and riesling bottled in screw cap and Neocork I find myself looking at many of these reports and wonder who is the ultimate benefactor of a better protected more accessible bottle of wine. The consumer, right? So are our consumers best represented by a group of MW’s?

    I agree it would have been advantageous to include natural cork in the tasting. I wonder, however, if a corked bottle was opened, would have left it in the panel?! An obvious give away but this would certainly prove the point. Also, how about letting the MW’s actually open the bottles finished with different closures and get their assessment there as well!?

  3. wine sooth » Blog Archive » “Closure” afterthoughts Says:

    [...] Friday, I posted about an informal tasting of wines finished with alternative closures at a MW seminar in [...]

  4. mydailywine Says:

    I read about this closure tasting as well. Results would have been interesting. But I agree that it seems strange not to include natural cork in the lineup.
    I also question whether a group of MWs are best suited to represent consumer’s response.

  5. Arthur Says:

    I posted a deeper discussion of this topic here.