It’s corks all the way for Ed Carr’s bubblies
Sparkling winemaker for the Accolade group, Ed Carr, is convinced natural cork is best for his wines.
Carr’s top bubblies, under the House of Arras brand (tastings), include the extraordinary E.J. Carr Late Disgorged Chardonnay Pinot Noir (tastings) and Blanc de Blancs (tastings). Both are currently 2001 vintage; $130 and $80 respectively.
Carr has trialled crown seals and other closures, but is convinced cork gives the best results. The clincher is aroma and flavour complexity. Even after 10 years on yeast lees the wines can still be ‘fruity and blousy’, but after disgorgement, and resting ‘on cork’ for a minimum of six months, they become finer and more complex.
Carr says 18 to 24 months is the ideal time to drink them. “They develop the toast and mushroom characters. Under crown seal, they stay fruity. That’s why I insist on cork.”
He doesn’t know why: “It’s not oxygen. It’s either something in the cork or the casein glue (which attaches the round pieces on the end of the composite cork) that contributes positive aroma/flavour characteristics.”
Carr estimates the rate of cork-taint in his wines at one per cent, which is quite low, and includes all levels from barely detectable to very overt.
However, “I’m always uncomfortable about producing wine with any incidence of taint, but I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off.” For him, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.