post from the road
Just a rapid post from the road, in a small town called Badajoz, which is just on the border between Spain and Portugal on the Spanish side. I'm with Cube's James Gabbani, who is as good a travelling companion as you could wish for.
Yesterday after a 3 am start we arrived in Lisbon early in the morning, picked up a hire car, and motored through the Alentejo (passing near Evora and Esrtremoz) at a rapid rate. We ended up in a small place about half an hour away from here where Oeneo's Diam facility is located.
Yes, it's a long way to come to see a closures factory, but what a factory. For those of you unfamiliar with Diam, it's a cork-based closure made by gluing together small fragments of cork with some polymer microspheres to make a uniform, inert 'cork'. Sounds a bit unremarkable, but the amazing thing about Diam is that it is completely taint free, because the cork granules are washed by supercritical carbon dioxide. When Carbon dioxide is subjected to a particular combination of temperatures and pressures it enters the supercritical state, where it has the cleaning power of a liquid and the penetration power of a gas. In short, Diam rocks as a wine bottle closure, and it's causing quite a stir in New Zealand, France, Germany, South America and even Australia...other countries are proving tougher to reach.
After the factory visit it was back to Badajoz for a big night out. Well, a night out. James and I devised a new format for a TV wine show, and were 'treated' to a shot of 160% proof black Absinthe by a barman. It was filthsome, evil stuff. James seemed visibly shaken by the experience. I think the fact that I was feeling pretty colded up insulated me from the full force of the experience.