October 15, 2016
Cork Battle - May the best closure win!
Corks are an important factor in determining how wine ages. Obviously, that's extremely important. They maintain the natural gasses each wine bottle produces while preserving the bottle pressure.
Not all corks are equal. You may ask, what’s the difference between cork types? We’re here to tell you!
Natural cork is still the leading closure type worldwide and it is easy to see why... Natural cork is a natural product that comes from the bark of a Cork Oak tree. This tree, after a few years, regenerates and produces more extractable bark. So natural cork is a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry! Natural cork also allows for a small amount of oxygen to flow through, which is important for aging the wine over time. And the coolest thing about natural cork? It is one of the most elastic materials on earth, so after using the Coravin System, natural cork will spring right back into place once the needle is removed. Bottles with natural corks need to be cared for the right way; store them in a cool room on their side to ensure that the cork stays moist and healthy. In recent years, major producers have spent millions to screen their cork more carefully and upgrade their production, which has reduced the risk of TCA (cork taint) substantially!
Up next we have the agglomerated cork. Similar in construction to particle board, agglomerated corks are made from cork dust and glue. These are a much cheaper option for producers and not well-suited for long-term aging. But on the bright side, agglomerated corks will still reseal, so bring on the Coravin!
Lastly, we have synthetic corks. While these inexpensive closures are a remedy for cork taint, they don’t allow any oxygen ingress. And with no oxygen the wine can’t mature! Now for the bad news… synthetic corks don’t expand and contract like natural and agglomerated corks, so they’re not a good match for your Coravin System.
So, the winner of the great cork debate? Well, we may be traditional but we like the good old fashion natural corks!