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Published:  23 July, 2008

Sabat, the world's second largest wine closure producer, is being sued by Oregon's Van Duzer Winery, which claims that the French company's Altec cork contaminated 1,200 cases of its 1999 Chardonnay with TCA. Sabat confirmed that it was involved in legal action with two further wineries, while it had reached a solution with Bogle Winery, with which it continues to do business. Altec is a moulded closure made from micro-particles of cork, from which most of the TCA-harbouring lignin has been removed. Launched in 1995, it was originally marketed as being taint-free. However, in a statement in response to the recent allegations, Sabat said: If Sabat's communications at any time led to the expectation that every Altec closure would be TCA free, we sincerely regret the misunderstanding.' Sabat stressed: These claims represent less than half of one per cent of all Altec closures produced and distributed worldwide during 2000 and 2001 combined.' However, it added: We have been working to help resolve a small number of complaints related to wines bottled in 2000 with Altec closures.' A spokesperson for Sabat also told Harpers that from May 2001 a stringent Quality Control procedure' had been put in place by the company, which now means that no batch leaves the factory with more than 3ppt releasable TCA'.