But that doesn't alter one unalterable fact: Cork is not the best wine closure. I was reminded of that Saturday night, when I opened a bottle of white Burgundy (chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France) and was overwhelmed with the smell of a damp basement. The wine, a Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin La Princée 2006, was corked, and I had to dump it.
My irritation -- no, it was more than that -- was not because the wine was particularly expensive or because I had paid for it or even because it was one of my favorites. It was, for white Burgundy, moderately priced at $22, and I had never had a Lamy before. I just like white Burgundy, this was in the store, and I had bought it.
What happened, and what it means, after the jump:
My irritation was that I had waited all week -- literally -- to drink the wine. The weather in Dallas has been hot and miserable, hitting 100 degrees two or three weeks before it normally does. Work has been hectic, with a bunch of deadlines crammed together, and more on the way.
So dinner Saturday night was going to be a respite from all of that -- a main course, Nicoise-style salad that included lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes picked that day from the garden; tuna that actually tasted like tuna; deviled eggs; and marinated chickpeas, served with a crusty, French-style bread I had baked that afternoon. I had bought a bottle of $9 Dubœuf Beaujolais-Villages 2008 (which turned out to be less soft and more interesting than the current vintage) to drink while I was preparing dinner and decanting the Lamy.
And then I would enjoy the Lamy -- slowly and deliberately and with pleasure. Which, as it turned out, didn't happen. The TCA had done what TCA does, and the wine was ruined. I kept smelling and sipping it, hoping the off-smell would blow away and that it would eventually taste like something other than a dull, muted version of itself. But it never did.
Are corks romantic? Sure. Is romance the most important thing about wine? Nope. The wine is. And until the wine business decides that the wine is more important than the romance, this will keep happening. And it will be the wine drinker's loss -- something, sadly, that the wine business doesn't understand.