Burgundy World

Guala bare

This high tech plastic cork leaves me cold, especially re-big wines
Published:  May 27, 2012

I have just come across the Guala seal plastic cork, on a Monthelie "monopole" red. Monthelie is one of the best Burgundies, as I have written before (here) and I don't think this cork has helped it at all.

This is important: Guala seals (also called Ardeaseal) are plastic. Plastic does not let wine breathe. And producers don't seem to care about pointing it out on the bottle: why not I wonder? Are they scared you might not buy it? This was a big Monthelie, not a piddling little white Sauvignon or some local plonk. I am not the first to notice this invasion of top wines with plastic (see this post from a couple of years back by David McDuff), but am I the only one to care?

It's not just about the structure or composition of the cork which everyone seems to focus on, but how the wine ages behind it. I think the wine smothers behind the plastic and doesn't evolve well. Flavours seem trapped, the nose reminds me of opening a bag of sweets, forget floral, think chemical.

One other problem no-one mentions but which really irks me as a consumer: the label should say whether there is a real cork or a plastic one in the bottle you are about to buy, don't you think? It would influence my purchase decision. I would opt for a real cork almost every time, unless perhaps a young white wine or summer rosé for immediate drinking, but even then I'd probably prefer a screw-cap. At least you can see screw-caps when you are buying the bottle in the store. Plastic corks by comparison are a rip off. I mean, am I the only one who cares when I remove the foil seal to find a plastic cork? Foil indeed. I suggest campaigning  if not for better corks, then at least for more transparency on behalf of consumer rights. And we should definitely want more cork plantations.

©RJ Delucenay-Clarke  May 2012

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