Put a Cork in It!

You’ve followed all the rules. From the arrival of the grapes through pressing, racking, aging and bottling, you have meticulously scrutinized every step of the winemaking process. Nothing has been overlooked in producing the bottle you now are proudly uncorking as your guests wait expectantly. The “pop,” the flourish … and you pour yourself a tiny sample, just to gloat a little before sharing. Aargh! The aroma of aged sweat socks assaults your nostrils and you quickly return to the cellar for a different bottle. “What happened?” you fume. Winemaking is an exacting art that demands one really sweat the details. Nonetheless, there can be an all-too-human tendency to overlook one or another apparently minor aspect of the process. Such an item is the closure used on the bottle, be it the traditional cork or some new-wave hybrid. While we tend to consider this a minor part of the winemaking picture, it is in fact the last thing we can influence before the wine is put down for aging. Since it remains in contact with the wine, or at least