Wine on tasting in East Molesey 10.03.17

10 March 2017

Bibi Graetz and Eddystone PN ready to go. And what is that in the back? I hear you ask; Well that row of deliciousness is for our Silver Oak Dinner…
On the Vinebar this week:
2013 Eddystone Point Pinot Noir, Tasmania - £4.50/glass, £12.99 or 6 for £60
….Well, we couldn’t not put this on the bar, could we? Big, ripe delicious Pinot at a price built for glugging!

2015 Casamatta, Bibi Graetz – Tuscany - £5.00/glass, £14.99
Light, crisp and fresh – this spring wine is from the upstart winemaker Bibi Graetz. Annoying everyone in Tuscany through being brilliant without being a member of the club; Bibi’s Casamatta is full of fresh nectarine, apple and lemon with a slightly herbaceous note. Sit outside, enjoy the sunshine and a glass of this!

Right, the important notes about drinking out the way, I wanted to talk to you about something which occurred last week. No, no need to sit down suddenly. The guinea pig isn’t dead and Western civilisation hasn’t crashed (well, not yet) but just a bad smell in the wine trade: Cork Taint.

Last week was a case in point: I had a customer come in, having bought a case of the most delicious wine a couple of months before – and gently told me that several bottles in the case hadn’t been quite right. I had expected a cheery “that was fantastic – ten more cases please” but that was not to be. What could I do? I explained he could bring have brought them back, which he was mildly surprised at.

Why? Because it matters to us that you enjoy our wine. We do the best we can to ensure that it arrives  to you in perfect nick…and when this doesn’t quite work we replace it – great wine, no nonsense.

The Numbers and the Science
Cork taint is, usually, the unwanted presence of  2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) or 2,4,6-tribromoanisole in a bottle of the good stuff. This usually occurs because of funghi present in a cork react with an antimicrobial agent used in the processing of wood. In the mid 90’s it was worked out that an average of 5% of all wine was actually corked. Of this however, only a tiny proportion of it will ruin your dinner party because while technically the human nose is capable of sniffing out TCA in a concentration of less than 9 parts per trillion, most noses don’t notice it until it is several magnitudes stronger.

There is hope however – since discovering the tricksy funghi responsible for taint, the industry has worked out many better ways of ensuring it doesn’t occur: better treatment of corks, less use of chlorine as a cleaning agent… I won’t go into the list – but just be aware that we mind as much as you do! In short, nowadays a bad bottle is a rarity rather than a common complaint – in fact, a recent analysis run in New York suggests that less than 1% of all wine which is corked (a falling percentage of our usual drinking tipples as well) is actually effected by TCA or TBA.

What to Do
  1. Be like Mainwaring: Don’t Panic. TCA doesn’t hurt, so even if you’ve drunk half the bottle you shouldn’t feel ill effects. While decidely unpleasant to taste, cork taint is not harmful. Corked wines smell and taste of damp, soggy, wet or rotten cardboard while the fruit is dulled and the finish wrecked. This isn’t time to hit the water – simply open another bottle and carry on as planned.
  2. Shove a cork back in the opened (but not finished) bottle and….
  3. Bring it back to us. Remember, our primary worry will be that you haven’t enjoyed the wine. we want everyone who buys our product to have as much fun drinking it as we did when we decided to stock it. We have an absolute no-quibble policy over any bottle and will happily exchange or simply leave it as credit on your account. We also know how people tick – if you’ve had a bad bottle from a case and would rather exchange the lot, no worries. In either case – let us know what happened!
Anyway – Enjoy your week guys – and hope to see you in the bar….

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