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Better matured with screw cap

Studies prove the disadvantages of natural cork

17 March 2024
Werner Elflein

besser-gereift-mit-schraubverschluss.jpgPhoto: weinfreaks.de
Our test object. Partly filled with a screw cap, partly with a natural cork: 2012 Serrig Schloss Saarsteiner Kabinett.

We should all know this by now. Numerous studies by renowned research institutes from all over the world have been proving for years and decades that wines benefit just as much from a screw cap as they do from a natural cork, provided the latter is of good quality – and unfortunately this is far too often not the case. Cork taint, tannin ingress, oxidation, runners, crumbling material, limited shelf life – the list of shortcomings of natural corks is long. Nevertheless, thanks to a deep emotional bond between winemakers and wine drinkers that cannot be explained rationally, the traditional stopper is still usually the first choice, especially for high-quality wines. While cork has a dubious image as a natural product, the screw cap is still plagued by prejudices that date back to the pioneering days when many seals still contained plasticisers such as bisphenol-A. In the meantime, however, sealing discs made from sensory-neutral and harmless Saran tin have long since established themselves.

Many advocates of natural corks point out that the wine can “breathe” better under a natural cork and therefore matures more attractively. But in many cases the oxidation caused by a leaking natural cork leads to the premature destruction of the contents of the bottle. Whether the wine was matured reductively or oxidatively is irrelevant.

Measurements show that the range of oxygen exchange with screw caps is far lower than with natural corks. However, the value ranges overlap. An ideal natural cork therefore hardly differs from a screw cap in terms of gas tightness.

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled — but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk.

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I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.

The wines at a glance

The rating of the wine reflects the mean value from a tasting by our jury.
The wine was evaluated in a blind tasting.
The wine was tasted as a barrel sample or before an official test number (Amtliche Prüfungsnummer or Staatliche Prüfnummer) was issued.
The wine exhibited a sensory abnormality during our tasting. This does not necessarily have to be a qualitative defect or a wine fault. In the case of a qualitative impairment, a devaluation or rejection was made depending on the type and severity of the defect or wine fault.

Schloss Saarstein

54455 Serrig
Phone: +49 6581 2324
Fax: +49 6581 6523
Internet: www.saarstein.de
E‑mail: weingut@saarstein.de

All wines of the producer at weinfreaks.de


2012 Serrig Schloss Saarsteiner Riesling Kabinett


Mosel • Geschützte Ursprungsbezeichnung (g. U.)

Amtliche Prüfungsnummer 3555014 9 13 • 8.5 % alcohol


Tasted on 6 March 2024 by Werner Elflein


Tasted on 6 March 2024 by Werner Elflein and Ioulia Elflein under four eyes

Bright grey-yellow. Delicately smoky fragrance. Initially with hints of medicine, which subside with a little air. Bouquet of peach and yellow apple. Ripe acidity and a little dominant sweetness on the palate. Very good length. Classic Saar Riesling.