Share |

Evan Goldstein's Progressive Tasting

There are so many aspects as to what makes good wine closures, whether they are punched corks, composite corks, screw caps, synthetics, glass or some other methodology.  Desirable traits include the original attribute of not letting the wine leak out, the degree of permeability desired by the winemaker for aging and other oxygen interchange purposes, the necessity of not infecting the wine with TCA and other pollutants that can reside within the closure, elasticity needed to stay intact during normal aging (decades for some wines) and to withstand abuse from heat or cold during transfer or storage, the ease of extraction and reuse of the closure, the life of the closure before it starts to disintegrate before or during extraction and, still very important, esthetic expectations of the winemaker and consumer.

I was guest last week in Portugal, Spain and France of DIAM Bouchage and G3, its U.S. distributor, to see the processes for making, developing and testing molded composite corks (as opposed to traditional punched corks).  DIAM’s signature attribute when it came to market in 2006 was its ability to eliminate detectable TCA (and 149+ other biological elements that can infest natural cork) by cleansing ground cork with its exclusive supercritical CO2 process.  In the years since, its work in developing DIAM corks’ permeability, elasticity and age-ability has been impressive.  Without getting into the whole arena of superiority of closures, I can’t imagine why any winemaker who uses traditional punched corks and who worries about TCA while wanting the same or better characteristics that have made punched corks the closure of choice for centuries wouldn’t at least consider the DIAM corks.

But let me abruptly jump to MS Evan Goldstein and his progressive wine tastings held over six days and three countries.  Evan, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, is well-known and respected for his Full Circle Wine Solutions business.  He did marketing studies about closures for DIAM and also put together our road trip with five other writers.

A feature we looked forward to each evening was his tastings of wines made by producers who use DIAM corks.  The tastings didn’t prove anything about DIAM’s attributes versus other closures, but it did illustrate the quality and diversity of producers who use DIAM, as well as providing thirsty writers with conversation liquidity before and during dinner. 

Night one at Sacramento restaurant in Lisbon – our jumping off point –featured wines by Clos de Los Siete (Mendoza), Cruchon (Vaud), La Scolca (Gavi) and Melville Estate (Santa Rita Hills).  All were well-made, but the 2011 Viognier by the Swiss producer was delicious and a bit of a surprise.  And Los Siete’s proprietor, Michel Rolland, is a big fan of DIAM.

Night two at the DIAM facility in San Vincente, Spain, was bubbles night – Champagnes by Bernard Brémont, Besserat de Bellefon and Billecart-Salmon and an extra-dry Prosecco from Ruggieri that was a crowd pleaser.

Night three at Michelin 2-star Atrio restaurant in Cáceres featured (in addition to 13 fabulous courses by Chef Juan Antonio Pérez) wines of Agusti Torello Mata (Penedès), Palacio (Rioja), Bonai (Ribera del Duero), Juan Carlos Sancho Peña (Rioja) and Ton Rimbau, whose Xarello orange wine from Penedès featured individualistic winemaking, tangy, ripe-cider flavors and an $85 tag, was found “interesting” by all and enjoyable by a few, particularly when paired with an earthy “capuchino” of foie gras, micro-fungus and corn.

Night four at the rustic Hostalet de Vives restaurant near the DIAM facility in Ceret, France, featured groaning platters of Catalan-style meats and vegetables to pair with wines from Château Couhins (Pessac-Lèognan), Bouchard (Corton-Charlemagne), Cachat-Ocquidant (Chorey-les-Beaune), Saint André de Figuière (Côtes de Provence), William Fèvre (Vaudésir) and Trimbach (Alsace). With the delicious 2010 Corton in abundance, it was difficult to concentrate on anything else!

Finally, day five over lunch at the Domaine St Sébastien restaurant and winery in Banyuls-sur-Mers had a presentation by owner/winemaker Romuald Peronne of his big, delicious, well-structured wines from the hillsides of Banyuls and nearby Collioure.

Of course, none of us were surprised that all the wines were free of TCA taint, as we were tasting only what the winemakers intended.  All in all, Evan’s progressive tasting of wines with DIAM closures proved to be a fascinating kaleidoscope of worldwide winegrowing possibilities.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)