I thought I’d write a quick message regarding a crucial part of our bottling for the 2017 and 2018 vintage wines across all the brands within the Donald Patz Wine Group.
The subject is corks.
Not very sexy. Just about the only time we worry about them at all is when we get a cork tainted bottle of a wine we have cherished for a long time. Beginning a new wine project – actually 3 of them – it really hit home to me that one thing I really-really did not want to have a problem with was the cork. With most of the corks we purchased over the years at Patz & Hall we would take samples of the bales of corks and test them for any TCA taint. The chosen corks were a small number but intended to be a statistically significant sample that would indicate the potential of each lot. Even so, there were no guarantees that the corks were all taint free.
This worried me. I could see it in my mind – I walk in to my favorite account with a bottle of Maritana or Secret Door or Terminim and sit with the buyer only to have a corked bottle to show them. Or, alternatively, a consumer unfamiliar with these brands takes one home and finds it “just not right” and concludes that the winery makes wines like that. The question became – how to prevent all the TCA problem and still use a natural cork? I contacted Cork Supply USA to find out more about their DS100 program. You can follow the link above for a more complete description of their process. Basically, they use a tiny amount of water to hydrate EVERY SINGLE CORK and then proceed to have a human sniff the corks twice removing any corks that do not have a neutral characteristic.
If that sounds expensive to you, it is. It’s really expensive and in fact I am spending about twice as much on these corks as we did in the olden days. Did I mention the “money-back guarantee”? Cork Associates USA offers a full retail price money-back guarantee for any bottles with DS100 corks found to be cork-tainted. That’s something I had never seen before and was very interested in having for the Secret Door, Maritana and Terminim wines.
Let’s say that again –
If you find a corked bottle of our wines. Keep the wine and the cork and return the remaining wine to us and we will get a 100% wine retail payment from Cork Associates. We have always stood behind our wines, but this guarantee puts our cork company on the hook with us! This is as close to a perfect solution as I can currently imagine with natural corks. Do not hesitate to let us know if you find one. We don’t expect any but if there is one let’s get it and show it to the cork people ASAP!
The corks I am using above being DS100 are also the highest quality – essentially flawless corks – this may seem excessive, but I wanted to add both a beautiful look to the no TCA guarantee. They are beautiful. You may not notice but we do this in order to make sure our wines, which begin with such amazing grapes; are so very carefully vinified and gently handled in the cellar; bottled using the highest standards are also safe under the best corks we can find.