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Klein Constantia goes back to cork closures

Published:  01 February, 2011

Top South African vineyard Klein Constantia has decided to go back to using natural cork for its premier wine Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc - because of fears of the wine developing sulphide characters under screwcap.

The Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc spends almost 10 months on the lees before bottling - and a further 10 months in bottle before release.

Adam Mason, Klein Constantia's head winemaker said: "With this style of maturation, there is a higher risk of developing sulphide characters, which - in my opinion - is exacerbated even further under screw cap.

"However, I have not experienced this problem since using cork as a closure. We originally switched to screw cap because of the unacceptably high failure rate of cork back then. But in over the last few years I have seen a marked improvement in cork's performance, so feel the low risk of cork failure more than compensates for the inevitable development of slightly reduced characters in this wine when closed under screw cap."

Commenting on this important development for fine white wines, Carlos de Jesus, head of communications for cork supplier Amorim, said: "Recent product development now enables us to offer the very best in performance and customer quality expectation. And research by Bordeaux University proves just how well today's natural cork stoppers seal white wines, as well as red, and also how vital the micro-oxygen transfer is to maturing a wine."

"In addition, being 100% natural, recyclable and biodegradable, cork closures play a key role in a winery's sustainability credentials."