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Plastic corks


Andre
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Habbits may lead us to lay down our wines when in storage, yet, plastic corks should not be in touch with the wine. Wines with plastic corks shoud be in an upward position.

Still, I fale to see producers giving us signs of plastic corks or even recommending this important storage technique.

Any ideas?

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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<snip> plastic corks should not be in touch with the wine. Wines with plastic corks shoud be in an upward position.

Huh? This is the first time I've heard anyone make such a claim, and I'm a longtime proponent of alternate closures. (I'm not questioning whether bottles with synthetic corks can be stored upright, by the way, just whether they should be.) Can you back up your statement? Can you cite studies? Do you also claim that screwcapped bottles shouldn't be stored on their sides?

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I assume there have been many discussions of wine closures here; but, I would be interested in knowing some terminology.

There are at least two main styles of plastic/synthetic corks. Ones that look kind of like plastic slugs and ones that superficially resemble corks. Anyone know what the proper names for these are?

If there are any wine makers listening, I hate the plastic slug ones. Often they are nearly impossible to remove from the bottle. Then when you do get them out, you almost need a pliers to get the "cork" off your corkscrew.

Erik

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Three types that I'm aware of: moulded (including injection moulded), extruded (including coextruded) and composite (aka agglomerate). Composites are typically made from cork pieces and cork dust bound together with glue; they look nice but don't eliminate cork taint. The "slugs" you refer to are probably moulded, and you're right that they're a pain to extract. Injection moulded corks, with a denser plastic used for the exterior and a softer plastic for the inside, are better. In my experience, coextruded corks are the easiest to remove, though like the others they will strip the Teflon off your high-tech corkscrew faster than you can say "What the f***?!" With moulded and extruded corks, the appearance depends on the plastic and dye used.

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Three types that I'm aware of: moulded (including injection moulded), extruded (including coextruded) and composite (aka agglomerate).

Thanks carswell!

I was thinking of the moulded when I said "plastic slug" and extruded when I said "superficially resemble corks". I wasn't really thinking of the composite ones; but, I guess those should be included as well.

This site has quite a bit of information regarding various wine closures.

http://www.corkwatch.com/

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Three types that I'm aware of: moulded (including injection moulded), extruded (including coextruded) and composite (aka agglomerate). Composites are typically made from cork pieces and cork dust bound together with glue; they look nice but don't eliminate cork taint. The "slugs" you refer to are probably moulded, and you're right that they're a pain to extract. Injection moulded corks, with a denser plastic used for the exterior and a softer plastic for the inside, are better. In my experience, coextruded corks are the easiest to remove, though like the others they will strip the Teflon off your high-tech corkscrew faster than you can say "What the f***?!" With moulded and extruded corks, the appearance depends on the plastic and dye used.

I don't call them "slugs", I call them "plugs". When I open a bottle with one of these at work, I never present it like I would a cork. Bonny Doon winery does them in many colors. Kinda cool.

Mark

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<snip> plastic corks should not be in touch with the wine. Wines with plastic corks shoud be in an upward position.

Huh? This is the first time I've heard anyone make such a claim, and I'm a longtime proponent of alternate closures. (I'm not questioning whether bottles with synthetic corks can be stored upright, by the way, just whether they should be.) Can you back up your statement? Can you cite studies? Do you also claim that screwcapped bottles shouldn't be stored on their sides?

I do not find the logic in allowing the wine to be in touch with Plastic knowing what plastic is made of and that wine can be quite aggressive.

Some places in Europe have started with an expirey date when plastic corks are used.

If I had a choice, I would not let water touch it either.

Speaking from my own experience, wines can smell of sweetish artificial stuff when exposed to such corks and I have witnessed signs of plastic corks being eaten up by the wine when stored a year long and more.

I am afraid I have no experience with screwcapped bottles although many questions come to mind.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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Quality synthetic corks are made from inert plastic that has shown itself quite capable of withstanding substances far more reactive than wine. The expiry date you refer to is new to me; I expect it has more to do with the evidence suggesting that synthetic corks are best for wines to be consumed within a year or two of bottling. (One should bear in mind, however, that syncork technology is constantly improving.) Revue des vins de France recently carried a report on a side-by-side tasting of red and white Burgundies bottled with synthetic and natural corks which found that the syncorked bottles were better up to 16 months after bottling and the natural corked bottles were better after 20 months. Their explanation for the outcome was that the reduced porosity of the syncorks accentuated oxydation; however odd that strikes me, the point is that off flavours and odours were simply not an issue (though they certainly would have been had any of the bottles with natural corks been affected by cork taint).

You are not the first taster to claim he can detect off flavour and odours in wines from bottles with artificial stoppers. Yet, as far as I can tell, all such "evidence" is anecdotal. Have any of the persons making this claim ever submitted themselves to a rigorous double-blind test? Not to my knowledge. I wonder why that is; it would be an easy thing to organize and conduct. If you know know of any such impartial tests, please point us to the results. On the other hand, there are studies showing that the sublimation of syncork plastic by wine is nil or virtually nil.

Neither I nor any wine lover of my acquaintance, including a number of people who make their living in the business, has ever noticed the stopper degradation or artificial odours you refer to in wines from bottles sealed with artificial closures, most of which I'm sure were stored on their sides (that's how our cellars are designed). Nor have I read or heard of such claims from wineries, importers or distributors. Indeed, as you point out in your first post, no effort has been made to recommend that bottles be stored upright. Barring some vast industry-wide conspiracy, that's probably because theory and practice have shown that it doesn't make a difference.

edit: readability

Edited by carswell (log)
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