Wolfy's Wine Blog
We’ve all heard the rumours - "Moderate wine drinking is good for you", says one newspaper. "Drinking wine does more damage than it does good" says another. Well after a number of studies from across the pond, we can all go to sleep knowing that the glass of wine you had earlier is actually doing you a whole load of good. We, of course, have no biased one way or the other...but this is what we've heard.
Wine, particularly red wine, has a load of antioxidants. These little molecules are great as they help mop up all the free radicals found in the body. Free radicals are particals that, when left alone, do lots of damage to cell tissue. Without antioxidants, a build-up of these free radicals can lead to cancer...
One victory for wine drinking!
Wine also helps reduce circulation related illness. Procyanidins found in the tannins of red wine are great at regulating an excess of cholesterol: a major factor determining the likelihood of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
YES! Two victories for wine.
Lastly, regular (moderate) wine drinking also helps stop the onset of brain functioning problems. Deterioration is measured at a considerably faster rate in non-drinkers than moderate drinkers. What better than a glass of Pinot Noir to sharpen the mind?
BOOM! That’s three victories for wine. I think I’ll raise a glass to that.
Corks are interesting. They come from a tree that takes a long time to grow. They rot when they get damp and in Angus’ case, they break whenever he tries to open something! So why do we use it? The key is in the unique qualities of the Cork itself; it’s both soft and porous, it’s natural and in most cases it doesn't affect the flavour of the wine. These are all desirable qualities in their own ways but the most interesting of them is that cork's porosity. A well made cork will let a tiny amount of air in over a long period of time without letting wine out. This process is a key factor in ageing wine; the slow aeration helps to reduce acidity and can change the flavours and the profiles of the wine drastically, both for the good and bad! There are also instances of cork failures which result in the famous but relatively rare “corked” wine, or “cork taint” which is a result of a fungus that grows within the cork itself. There are a multitude of other faults found in wine that are often, yet incorrectly called “corked”. A corked wine has a very particular flavour often described as tasting like damp or rotten cardboard, and can vary in its potency.
Screw-caps are neither soft nor porous. In fact, a well applied screw-cap should be pretty much airtight. This means that whilst a cork can be a bit temperamental a screw-cap is much more consistent. They will keep wine fresher for longer, are easier for bottling, more cost effective and potentially more convenient for the end user. Which is why the more mass produced “quaffing” wines are screw-caps and why screw-caps are often thought as inferior to cork. But let’s be clear, screw-caps are not an indication of quality, in fact more and more top wineries are bottling their best wines with screw-caps, especially in the New World and for good reason. Screw-caps are great at keeping in freshness, whether that’s for reds or whites, if a winemaker wants to keep his wine youthful and constant for his customers screw-caps are the perfect choice. It’s not that the wines won’t age, it’s just a much slower process and with different results.
The truth is both screw-caps and corks have a place in the world of wine, and moreover neither can be heralded as “the best”. Screw-caps are better for wines that are intended to be drunk straight off the shelf and corks are better for wines intended to mellow and change overtime. Ultimately the closure method is dictated by the winemaker intention for their wines. In some cases it’s to save cost or to be more convenient but in others it’s to preserve or even change the wine over time. Neither are wrong and again its personal preference, but gun to my head I’d have to admit that I’ll always find that ‘sqeeeak-pop’ a little more satisfying.
A punt is the concave hollow on the underneath of a wine bottle. There are a few practical uses such as catching the sediment released from an aged bottle as well as allowing better control for pouring. So is it true that the deeper this hollow the better the bottle of wine? In short, sort of .
To produce a large dimple a lot more glass is required in the bottle manufacturing process. As with all manufacturing, this is exceptionally costly for the producer. It would not be ignorant to assume that a winery willing to splash out on it packaging is likely to spend more on its winemaking. In sum it can be assumed the more money spent, the better the wine, sort of .
That being said the more money spent on a wine does not equal a better wine, and there are producers that spend more on packaging than on whats inside the package. Watch for the sneaky producers out there who are catching on to the punt as a selling tool. A much more reliable way to check the quality of the wine you’re buying is, quite simply, ask someone who’s tried it. No one wants a big punt if the vino tastes like battery acid.
In short, a big punt does not mean a better wine, it can indicate that the winemaker has really put their heart and soul into the wine and want it to have the best bottle possible or it could simply be a marketing ploy. For me personally if the wine is made in the right way then a large punt only adds to the theatre and enjoyment of the wine, but it certainly is no guarantee. As always we recommend simply having a conversation with your friendly neighbourhood wine guy/gal!