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james laube's wine flights archive

Photo by: Greg Gorman
James Laube

January 2013

Snitching on Bad Corks
Don't bite your tongue when your nose tells you a bottle is off
Posted: Jan 23, 2013 10:30am ET

I've had cork on the brain of late. Despite that we found the lowest failure rate yet among natural corks for newly released wines in 2012, many potentially great wines end up spoiled in one way or another. With that in mind, it's worth pointing out that there are matters of etiquette when it comes to wines tainted by bad corks.

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A Global Twist on Closures
Our informal tracking of twist-offs indicates that more wines than ever are being bottled under screw caps
Posted: Jan 11, 2013 4:00pm ET

Not surprisingly, New World wineries have more openly embraced twist-off closures than Old World producers, who still rely heavily on cork for sealing their bottles.

Much of what defines New World winegrowing relies on advances in technology, and while wine closures are less about technology, they reflect a mindset among vintners that recognizes the shortcomings of corks as well as the viability of their alternatives.

According to our statistics based on wines reviewed in 2012 by Wine Spectator editors, 91 percent of New Zealand's wines were bottled under twist-off, followed by Australia (67 percent), Oregon (23 percent), Argentina (14 percent), Washington (12 percent) and California (8 percent).

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Cork Taint in California Wines Hits New Low
Our informal tracking of wines flawed by TCA reveals lowest rate since 2005
Posted: Jan 4, 2013 12:00pm ET

The number of California wines flawed by apparent cork taint (2,4,6-trichloroanisole, otherwise known as TCA) fell in 2012 to its lowest level since we've been informally tracking this controversial issue starting in 2005.

Roughly 3.7 percent of the 3,269 cork-sealed wines from California that we tasted in the Wine Spectator office in 2012 were thought to be tainted by a bad cork.

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