Can corks make wine more astringent?

Suberic acid in the agglomerate closures did appear to make the wine more astringent. Pexels

Wine closures is a boring topic. However, I must admit that the heading “Do Agglomerate Corks Make Wines Astringent”, published in Meininger’s Wine Business International, aroused my interest.

Because of the consistent nature of Diam closures, all of the wines in the trial had their astringency levels elevated by the same amount, making the change less obvious than the changes in cork.

A group of German scientists wondered if ‘sophisticated micro-agglomerate corks’—principally Diam—could create a flavour-active contaminant called suberic acid.

They noted:

  • Cork quality control has always been about the perception of odours. Taste aspects have been neglected.
  • Suberic acid appears to be the compound in micro-agglomerate corks that is associated with astringency.

Now here is the really interesting bit:

  • New research is looking into closure-derived astringency with sensory tests and an electronic tongue.

An electronic tongue! I imagined a large, pink tongue attached to a few electrodes. It took a second to search ‘electronic tongue’ on the internet. It looked like my Ninja fruit blender linked to an ancient personal computer.

The scientists combined the skill of trained wine tasters with the unerring accuracy of an Astree electronic tongue.

Suberic acid in the agglomerate closures did appear to make the wine more astringent.

However, because of the consistent nature of Diam closures, all of the wines in the trial had their astringency levels elevated by the same amount, making the change less obvious than the changes in cork, which had varying amounts of suberic acid and therefore differing changes in perceived astringency.


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