More on the MW dissertation claims about screwcap damage

I posted a few days ago on an article in a trade publication based on an MW dissertation by Alison Eisermann-Ctercteko that examined the extent of screwcap damage in the retail chain, and the implications for wine quality. This caused quite a storm, because it claimed that 26% of all caps showed some physical damage, and over 8% [...]

MW dissertation claims that screwcaps cause more wine damage than cork

The rise in screwcap use in Australia since 2000 has been remarkable. Now they are by far the majority closure, for fine wines as well as more commercial ones. But a Masters of Wine (MW) dissertation by Alison Eisermann-Ctercteko, which has been published in Australian trade publication Wine and Viticulture Journal, presents evidence that is [...]

A hugely interesting scientific paper questions what we know about musty cork taint

A scientific paper that has just been published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examines the way that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the key compound responsible for musty cork taint is perceived. The results are surprising.

They suggest that TCA acts on olfactory receptor cells (the cells containing the proteins that detect smells) by suppressing protein [...]

Ceilings for wine quality in Bordeaux

A nice-looking gravelly terroir

I’ve spent a few days in Bordeaux, during which I’ve had a chance to speak to a few knowledgeable people and also to walk through quite a few vineyards. (And run through some, too.) Harvest is a few weeks off, so it’s interesting to see the marked differences among the various [...]

Is wine expertise illusory?

There’s been a lot of chat, of late, on whether or not wine expertise is illusory.

The media loves the idea that the wine trade is an elaborate fraud, perpetuated by people who are more-or-less making it up when they taste wine. People outside the wine trade find the idea that experts can’t tell the difference [...]

Ingredient labelling in wine

Wine is unusual among foodstuffs in that it doesn’t contain ingredient labelling or lists. All that is required is the statement ‘contains sulfites’ if the total sulfur dioxide level exceeds 10 mg/litre (which is a level that can be achieved even when no sulfites are added; they are made by yeasts, too).

There have been calls [...]

Helix, a new cork-based closure solution

Very interested by this new development, which was launched today at Vinexpo. It’s the Helix closure, which is the result of a partnership between cork company Amorim and glass manufacturer O-I (Owens-Illinois).

The idea is very clever. By using a special bottle, with grooves inside the neck, it makes it possible to remove the cork [...]

Yeasts and volatile sulfur compounds, a graphic

I’ve attempted to produce a simplified graphic showing the role of yeasts in producing volatile sulfur compounds, which are responsible for ‘reduction’ problems in wine. The big oval here is the yeast cell, and – grossly simplified – this is how reduction issues are caused by yeasts.

The main way in which yeasts produce volatile sulfur [...]

Graphic: wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine

Just working on this graphic, showing the relationship between wine flavour chemistry and the perception of wine.

Flavour chemicals come directly from grape must, from bacteria and yeasts directly, and also from bacteria and yeasts modifying precursors in the must. There’s also the possibility that some elements of flavour could come from the soils, although this [...]

Video: a geeky review of wine glasses

So, here I review some of my tools of the trade: my favourite wine glasses.