DIAM and the eventual triumph of empiricism…

Update 23.5.2018(3.5.2018)billn

A discussion of why I believe DIAM to be my closure of choice for white burgundy. For a number of years I’ve recommended in Burgundy Report that you either drink your white burgundy young – let’s say within 3-5 years of release – or that you buy wine sealed with an alternative closure to cork….

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There are 2 responses to “DIAM and the eventual triumph of empiricism…”

  1. Fred Schilling2nd June 2018 at 4:59 amPermalink

    I agree, Bill, that technical corks, such as DIAM (and DIAMANT for sparkling wine), are a very good but still second best solution. DIAM corks have been made to be TCA free with standardised dimensions and density/compressibility but that still leaves a variable bottle neck bore diameter within a defined acceptable tolerance range to interact with that technical cork. There will inevitably be a maximum allowable bore diameter fitted with a minimum diameter cork.

    Experience down here in Oz and NZ, from the viewpoint of a serious consumer, has continued to demonstrate that screwcaps, with selective oxygen transmission rates (if you think that’s important), provide the best and most consistent wine bottle closure at present. Screwcap is equivalent to “best cork”.

    Premox has never been just a white burgundy problem. While “ancient” wine drinkers like me have put up with variability from multiple bottles of the same wine, purchased at the same time, stored side-by-side over years, with a shrug of the shoulders on the basis that “there aren’t any great old wines just great old bottles”. I believe that today’s wineries, with current scientific and engineering knowledge, owe a duty to purchasers and their own reputation. Not to mention all the great wine that is unnecessarily destroyed.

    In any case, if all Burgundian wineries changed to DIAM corks that would be a great thing. The next step in France to more universal use of screwcaps will come in time. Why not seek out the long term knowledge and experience from antipodeans? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel in order to determine the required changes to bottling chemistry in transitioning to screwcaps.

    Very Best

    • billn4th June 2018 at 1:47 pmPermalink

      Interesting. Thanks Fred.
      Whilst I note in my text that screw-cap may be just as efficient, it is laregly not possible for me to empirically say that because they are so rare in Burgundy – Benjamin Leroux being one of the (currently) rare exceptions. JC Boisset went down the route of screw-caps for the 2007 vintage – provocative said the syndicat of Gevrey producers, because the winemaker chose to screw-cap Chambertin! I tasted a white from that batch last year and it was excellent. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for them as the market didn’t accept them – so what is a producer to do? People, myself included, are still quite attached to their corkscrews and DIAM has more acceptance – perhaps – because of that.

      I have to challenge your ‘second best’ only because it has to be something statistically relevant – what is the failure rate of DIAM due to bottle neck bore diameter variance? If it’s one in a thousand – and I’ll be surprised if it’s more (though am prepared to be corrected) – then I don’t see that as statistically relevent. The counter-argument from the ‘anti-screw-cap’ brigade is that screw-caps are fragile if knocked – who knows(?) – but DIAM does work, and I suspect screw-caps too, but as noted I don’t have the same empirical evidence…


  2. newmanja7713th June 2018 at 11:00 pmPermalink

    Bill – I thoroughly enjoyed this review and I agree I am very happy to see the transition toward more DIAM corks. Thanks for the information regarding the construction of these corks as I only had a general idea. Also very pleased to see some older tasting notes from these closures as I have always wondered how they would hold up. I’ve had red pinot noir from Oregon bottled with DIAM back to 2010 and have found them successful, but nothing older. Also good to see that the bottle age doesn’t create the “glue/bitterness” taste that some people claim as there has been the theoretical concern regarding long contact with wine as a solvent. Thanks for the article!


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