Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Maestro, the wine, please...

Over on Dr. Vino (a fine blog that I recommend whole-heartedly if you're into the politics and economics of wine), I learned of a new Champagne closure, called "Maestro."  Duval-Leroy is introducing it with their 2004 Clos du Bouvieres.  A video of it in action can be found here.

Basically, to open the bottle, you pry the lever up, and with a pop, the cap comes off.  Under the tip of the lever is a crown cap, which is what Champagne is aged under, and a plastic hood that covers the crown cap and lever mechanism.

Effectively, it's a single-use beer-bottle opener for Champagne.

Which is pretty cool.  I like alternative closures!  For still wine, there's basically 5 methods of closing off a bottle of wine:  real cork, plastic cork, Stelvin/screwcap, Zork, and Vinolock.  Real and plastic cork are pretty well known, as is Stelvin.  The Zork is a primarily Austrlian closure (you can find it on Whoop Whoop and Red Knot wines from Australia, although Don Sebastiani uses it for his Plungerhead zins from California), made of plasticized vegetable oil, it looks like nothing if not a single-malt Scotch or LBV Port closure -- there's a bit that sticks into the neck of the bottle, and a covering cap.  It also makes a satisfying pop when removed from the bottle (something I find sadly lacking in the Stelvin).  Vinolock is a similar method, using inert glass and a silicone O-ring that are covered by a foil.  It looks quite similar to a normal cork, and has all the advantages of Stelvin in addition.  It's mostly used for wines from Sicily (Cusumano uses it on their wines), although Molly Dooker used it last year.

Anyhow, there is a wine bottled right now  with something like the Maestro -- Chandon's Etoile, which is bottled directly under crown cap.  Yes, that's right, you need a beer bottle opener to pop that bottle open!

All in all, it's a bad time to be a cork farmer; more on that later, I suspect.

Photo from Alcan Packaging.


  1. Dork,
    A Moorilla Brut Rose I found in Tasmania also comes under crown cap. Strikes me as a good solution.

    BTW, you mentioned liking Kiwi Pinots. Have you had any from Pyramid Valley? (not sure if you can get them in Florida unless you ship from someone like K&L). The new releases are due to arrive in early July. They are sensational. The more you like real Burgundy, the more you'll like these. Definitely worth a try.


  2. Can't say I've ever had Pyramid Valley pinot -- I'll have to see about having a bottle or two shipped in. Most of the Kiwi pinots that I've had have been from Marlborough, although a couple have been from Central Otago, and one from Hawkes Bay.