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New technology will eliminate cork taint

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Let's start this week with a bit of technical good news. Amorim, the world's leading cork producer, announced a major technological breakthrough that will signal the end of cork taint. Trade named Ndtech, this cutting-edge technology greatly enhances Amorim's quality-control measures by screening individual cork stoppers on the production line to eliminate the risk of corks contaminated with 2, 4, 6-trichloroanisole (TCA) reaching winemakers and obviates cork taint for bottled wine. This is particularly good news for cellarers or those who enjoy buying old wine. Obviously it will take some time for the industry to adapt. I still believe that Stelvin process changes the aging process so for me this is good news.

We just sampled another bottle of Cava de Vilarnau Brut Rosado Reserva DOC. These folks are holding their pattern of producing very lovely summer sipping sparklers. The Rosado shows violettinged gooseberry color. Aromas of ripe red fruit-strawberries and raspberries with hints of yeast.

They are smooth, fresh and creamy, with a medium-size bead, 88 McD when bought under $18. I've seen cases for sale at $156. Another, in the same price range, is Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose. Pale rose-colored with delicate aromas of apple, red fruit and a hint of vanilla. On the palate, apple, citrus and a hint of biscuit flavors. Nice mouthfeel with good bead, racy acidity and a creamy texture, 87 McD good QPR. Can be found under $13. Fratello Lunelli Metodo Classico Rose Trentino

NV is labeled Ferrari Brut Rose NV is salmon colored. Opens to hawthorn flowers, red currants and wild strawberries. On the dry, clean, bubbly palate you will find hints of almonds, 88 McD when found under $25.

Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Trebbiano Riserva DOC 2012 is a terrific QPR red, which I rate 93 points with 1 price point priced under $30. This is a recent release.

For some reason, these folks hold this lovely white back, and it definitely works. Malolactic fermentation in wood then aged for 22 months in new oak barriques is not typical in Italian whites. These will cellar very well, and will continue to improve. Golden color with fragrant floral aromas. On the palate full and round, with peaches, tropical fruit, and barrel notes of honey and vanilla, lovely acidity/fruit balance. I also sampled the 2011, notes read deep gold, oak, vanilla, roast apples, vanilla, herbal notes. On the palate brown butter, coconut, some tropical fruit.

Well balanced, finishes smooth and cleanly palate reverberates, 92 points.

Todd Graff, winemaker at Frank Family, was recently promoted to GM. Congratulations, well deserved. The wine is still excellent. Their 2014 Carneros Chard is a bit young for my taste.

Nevertheless it shows plenty of promise. This is a substantial 100 percent Chard with plenty of alcohol at 14.5 abv. Barrel fermented in 33 percent new oak for 9 months on lees. The oak is evident but not overwhelming, carrying plenty of fruit, brown butter and nutmeg notes that support.

Excellent acid profile, 91 McD under $35. Combined, these characteristics say cellar me a few years. The Napa Valley Zin 2013 is actually a blend with 7 percent Petit Sirah and 9 percent Cab. Huge fruit opening, nose swirled off into chocolate, currants, pepper and brambles. On the palate, raspberries, some sweetness and 14.6 percent abv. This is a large wine and will enhance barbecued ribs to a tee. A bit pricey on our local shelves in the mid $30s but a decent buy for those who enjoy large red wines, 87 McD.

Let's finish up with Urban Riesling 2015. Some may remember last September's column that was a paean to a really fun winemaker, Nik Weiss. If you ever have a chance to meet him or see a presentation by him don't miss it.

A fascinating raconteur but a better winemaker, Nik is owner of Weingut St. Urbans-Hof. He makes some of the world's best Mosel. The Urban Riesling new release is right in keeping with his long tradition of excellence. In his own words, "Complex smoky and floral nose, a juicy fruity, elegant mouthfeel with typical minerality that finishes off dry and crisp with the impulse to take another sip." Amen Nik. Couldn't have said it better myself. Great QPR, 88 points and you can buy it under $10.

Email John McDonald at

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Original Publication Date: June 10, 2016

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