Imagine there's no cork (you may say I'm a dreamer...)

Imagine there's no cork (you may say I'm a dreamer...)

So the parcel from Ziereisen, one of my very favourite wine estates, has finally arrived, open one right now, methinks, so let's see, oh yeah, here's just the thing:

Steingrüble 2008, a serious dry single-vineyard version of a regional white grape known as Gutedel in Germany, and Chasselas in Switzerland. Been dying to try it.

Nice dark straw colour, appetizing ripe fruit in the nose, hay, mineral freshness and - uh oh - what's this, oh no, it's...

- cut, change of scene -

...imagine that wine has only been invented in 2009. Someone has come up with a way to ferment grape juice into a tasty alcoholic beverage, a corporate board has been set up for branding and packaging this exciting new product, and we are now live with its last decisive meeting:

Board chairman: "Okay, everybody, we're all a little worn out right now, but we've accomplished a good bit today: We settled on a name (shame about "grape beer" though - would have been my favourite), a container (glass bottles - classy!), and our target consumers (snobs from approaching middle age onwards). Now there's one last thing we need to wrap up before we can all go home. Closures. Now I did ask three of you to come up with suggestions, so let's hear them, show of hands please, you three over there, ok. Sell it to us, and if you could keep it short.

Board member 1: Crown caps. No two ways about it. Has worked with beer bottles for decades, tight seal, can't leak, stainless steel, wine won't spoil, bottle opener in every house. No need to look further, we have all we need.

Board member 2: Yeah, crown caps would be all right. But consider screw caps. Every bit as safe, every bit as tight, but here's the thing: No tool needed at all for opening. So foolproof it's almost too easy.

Board member 3: We don't need something that works. We need something that creates a ritual of distinction, a cultural icon, if you will. Here's what I think would do the trick - and bear with me, because this will sound insane: We could farm the bark of oak trees and make stoppers out of it - oh, you can laugh, but just hear me out - I got some people in Portugal who can handle this. Once in the bottle, this can only be prised out using a clumsy metal screw. When the tree bark is infected with bacteria or carelessly processed, it will spoil the wine. No, but that's good, see, that will create another little inside ritual of sniffing the cork to find out if that has happened.

Board chairman: Genius. We've got our closure. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

- cut, change of scene -

...wet cardboard. This lovely interesting wine, from an original grape, a single bottle of course, is ****ing corked.

Submitted by Julian Wednesday, 02/12/2009

In reply to by Patrick Johner

Well, the Steingrüble, a half bottle, was definitely corked. And it was also definitely corked (ha ha). I guess that means that, unlike the Heugumber, it is no longer entry level, but single vineyard mid-range. Which makes sense to me: what I could smell behind the cork was very promising. I never understand the screwcap = entry level equation anyway. Doesn't it imply the very notion that we need to overcome, namely that cork is the more "valuable" closure?
I also need to mention that Ziereisens, wonderful people that they are, gift-packed the Steingrüble into my parcel for me to try, so I don't want this to reflect negatively on them.