A little while ago, I was asked by a winemaker and wine blogger for my opinion on a bottle of wine retailing without the top capsule. I said that I didn’t like it as the bottle looked unfinished, and I said that the only good reason, might be to see if the cork was looking iffy and perhaps should be opened up sooner. Now, if that word sounds unusual, it is just that colorful sleeve that fits over the bottle top and cork and extends down the neck to the fill line of the bottle of wine. It is that sometimes pain in the arse item to remove, before the cork is removed. In the old days, the capsules were made of lead and much easier to remove, by the way. It was just another layer to keep the bottles sealed, and a way to keep vermin from gnawing at the corks in the cellars, when buildings weren’t as sealed tight as today.
I can understand how some of the wineries are probably looking at the capsule, as just another cost factor, just like some of them are looking for thinner and lighter bottles to keep shipping costs down. Whereas some of the prestige wines are using bottles that weigh about as much as two bottles of wine, and that is when they are empty. I make no bones about it, that I am an old curmudgeon about traditions. I did as a clothier and I still do about wines. I have never been excited about “trends.” I would rather see a man dressed like Cary Grant, compared to looking like Peewee Herman. It is just aesthetically pleasing to the eye and a sense of decorum that suits me.
After, I got offline, I became curious as I remembered the first bottle of wine that we received from our wine club out west, and being a curmudgeon, I was a little miffed that the bottle arrived without a capsule or any labels. A real naked bottle of wine. I went and found the bottle in the rack and I noticed the neck ring tags that I hang on the bottles, so I can see what is there had started to seep and had stained the tag. I decided that it was time. The wine in question was Kori Wines Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2013, and I mean how can one not get a bit excited, as I feel that this is one of the best areas in California to grow this very fussy grape, who can give rather mediocre results if not tended to properly and in the ideal terrain to be grown. This winery is a partnership that started in 2007 between grower Kirk Williams and his step-daughter Kori Violini. This is a dream winery, getting fruit from the KW Ranch & Highlands in the Santa Lucia Highlands. This is one of the respected vineyards that sells grapes to wineries like Wrath and Morgan. The vineyards owned by Kirk Williams is surrounded by other well-known estates like Gary’s Vineyard, Sleepy Hollow and Rosella’s (all vineyards that I have had the good fortune to encounter because of my wine club). I was a little surprised that in today’s computer era, I could find almost nothing about the winery or any production notes, other than a production run on one-hundred-fifty cases produced. The wine I am glad to say, survived, I used my Durand, but there was still a little cork crumbling. The wine offered notes of cherries and violets. On the palate the tones of fruit had softened and so had the tannins, the finish was a medium count with a touch of terroir. I guess we opened this wine in time.