You can’t invent this material. While one South African tries his reptile best to destroy natural cork as a wine closure by sowing confusion galore at the Old Mutual Toasty Wine Show this year, an American scientist with a distinctly S’effrican name, Greg Lambrecht, saves the closure by inventing a technology for extracting wine from a bottle and relying on the natural sponginess of cork to reseal the tiny hole made by a needle. Called Coravin, Jancis Robinson went into ecstasies about it this weekend.
“Coravin is a stainless steel contraption that looks not unlike a small microscope. It has a long needle which, inserted through the foil and cork, extracts as much or as little wine as you like. The remaining space is filled with inert argon gas from a little replaceable cylinder screwed into the gadget. When the needle is extracted, the springy cork reseals itself and the only trace that remains is a little pinprick in the foil. He is working on a system with an even thinner needle designed for really old wine and its less pliable corks. (It won’t work on composite or synthetic corks.)” Nor screwcaps. Can you hear the bow-ties of the screwcap shills spinning madly? The sound here in Killarney is deafening.
Meanwhile even more question marks are being thrown at the Old Mutual cork meltdown by Veritas (a far bigger show than Toasty) which experienced a TCA problem in less than 1% of the 1800 wines that were opened. In fact two TCA positive wines were closed by screw caps! How does Old Mutual explain their own anomalous experience? Were there some undisclosed screw cap shills among the judges or was it a cheap shot to generate publicity for a tired wine show? The SA public is waiting for answers.