To Cork or Not To Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle (Google eBook)

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 9, 2007 - Cooking - 288 pages
16 Reviews
In Judgment of Paris, George M. Taber masterfully chronicled the historic 1976 wine tasting when unknown California wines defeated top French ones, marking a major turning point in wine history. Now he explores the most controversial topic in the world of wine: What product should be used to seal a bottle? Should it be cork, plastic, glass, a screwcap, or some other type of closure still to be invented?

For nearly four centuries virtually every bottle of wine had a cork in it. But starting in the 1970s, a revolution began to topple the cork monopoly. In recent years, the rebellion has been gathering strength. Belatedly, the cork industry began fighting back, while trying to retain its predominant position. Each year 20 billion closures go onto wine bottles, and, increasingly, they are not corks.

The cause of the onslaught against cork is an obscure chemical compound known as TCA. In amounts as low as several parts per trillion, the compound can make a $400 bottle of wine smell like wet newspaper and taste equally bad. Such wine is said to be "corked." While cork's enemies urge people to throw off the old and embrace new closures, millions of wine drinkers around the world are still in love with the romance of the cork and the ceremony of opening a bottle.

With a thorough command of history, science, winemaking, and marketing, Taber examines all sides of the debate. Along the way, he collects a host of great characters and pivotal moments in the production, storage, and consumption of wine, and paints a truly satisfying portrait of a wholly intriguing controversy. As Australian winemaker Brian Croser describes it: "It's scary how passionate people can be on this topic. Prejudice and extreme positions have taken over, and science has often gone out the window."
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AmronGravett - LibraryThing

"To the wine consuming public," Taber writes, "a cork is a cork is a cork," but Taber goes on to explain the wide variation in the methods and history of cork production. His narrative explores the dreaded cork taint causes as well as the alternatives. Read full review

Review: To Cork or Not To Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle

User Review  - Julie - Goodreads

Even a wine lover like me resorted to skimming after about 50 pages. Perhaps a different kind of reader might enjoy this but me, not-so-much. Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE
1
Natures Nearly Perfect Product
5
The Making of a Cork
17
London
25
Science in the Service of Wine
27
The Long Search for an Alternative
37
Block Island Rhode Island
51
A Disastrous Decade for Portuguese Cork
53
Ringoes New Jersey
155
Funeral for the Cork
157
Back to the Future with a Glass Solution
165
Hattenheim Germany
173
The Bottle That Wears a Crown
175
Trouble in the Cellar at Hanzell
181
Gulf Mills Pennsylvania
193
The Problem of Reduction
195

The Rise of Australia
61
Miami
69
The French CoverUp
71
Supreme Corq Breaks the Monopoly
81
Houston
97
From Perfect Cork to Perfect Disaster
99
A New Generation at Amorim Makes Big Changes
109
Las Vegas
117
California Looks for a HighTech Solution
119
Australia Blazes New Paths
127
Paso Robles California
139
Plumpjack Makes a Bold Gamble
141
New Zealands Rebels with a Cause
145
France Remains Hesitant
209
New Zealand
219
American Experiments with Closures
221
On the American Front Lines
235
San Francisco
241
The Penfolds Recorking Clinic
243
Battle for the Wine Bottle
249
conclusion
263
selected bibliography
267
acknowledgments
269
index
271
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 3 - I no sooner discern'd these (which were indeed the first microscopical pores I ever saw, and perhaps, that were ever seen, for I had not met with any Writer or Person, that had made any mention of them before this) but me thought I had with the discovery of them, presently hinted to me the true and intelligible reason of all the Phaenomena of Cork; As, First, if I enquir'd why it was so exceeding light a body?
Page 3 - Plate, because it was it self a white body, and casting the light on it with a deep plano-convex Glass, I could exceeding plainly perceive it to be all perforated and porous, much like a Honey-comb, but that the pores of it were not regular ; yet it was not unlike a Honeycomb in these particulars.
Page 5 - The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine.

About the author (2007)

George M. Taber is the author of Judgment of Paris, the 2006 wine book of the year for Britain's Decanter magazine. His second book, To Cork or Not to Cork, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for best book on wine and spirits and the Andre Simon Award for best wine book. Before turning to writing wine books, Taber was a reporter and editor for Time.

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