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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle

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

ISBN13: 9780743299343
ISBN10: 0743299345
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


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."

Review:

"Unexpectedly fascinating, this history of wine corks may sound like a book only an oenophile could love, but Taber's zingy writing and juicy anecdotes make it a genuine page-turner, even for those who prefer wine coolers to wine lists. The first chapter alone is full of intriguing facts: for instance, wine was once sealed with a slick of olive oil, and the practice of tasting wine before pouring it 'actually started as a way of making sure all the oil was gone.' Cork, a structurally unique substance used for sealing bottles since the Roman Empire, replaced olive oil centuries ago, but cork is not a perfect solution to the vexing problem of protecting wine: between 3 and 5 percent is tainted with a noxious chemical compound that can ruin an otherwise perfect bottle. The debate about whether or not to continue using cork has torn through the multibillion dollar wine industry, pitting traditionalists against innovators, cork farmers against scientists: 'Says Brian Croser, one of Australia's leading winemakers, "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."' If it seems strange to harbor such passion about cork, Taber, a respected wine journalist, will do much to change your mind." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

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."

Synopsis:

The author of the surprise hit "Judgment of Paris" uncorks another fascinating, extensively researched expos on wine: to cork or not to cork. Calling on his journalistic training and passion for wine, Taber traces the history of the cork and examines its modern substitutions.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Carl S, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Carl S)
Wine is a too important part of life. Every wine drinker should know what's up with the controversies about cork and the alternative methods of sealing bottles. A great read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Carl S, January 12, 2011 (view all comments by Carl S)
Who knew there was so much controversy on how to close a wine bottle? I will no longer look down on wines with screw tops!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743299343
Author:
Taber, George M.
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Foreword:
Karen MacNeil
Subject:
Beverages - Wine & Spirits
Subject:
Wine & Spirits
Subject:
Wine and wine making
Subject:
Bottle corks
Subject:
Cooking and Food-Wines of the World
Copyright:
Publication Date:
October 2007
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Beverages » Bartending and Liquor
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » General
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wine » Wines of the World
Cooking and Food » Beverages » Wines and Beer

To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Scribner - English 9780743299343 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Unexpectedly fascinating, this history of wine corks may sound like a book only an oenophile could love, but Taber's zingy writing and juicy anecdotes make it a genuine page-turner, even for those who prefer wine coolers to wine lists. The first chapter alone is full of intriguing facts: for instance, wine was once sealed with a slick of olive oil, and the practice of tasting wine before pouring it 'actually started as a way of making sure all the oil was gone.' Cork, a structurally unique substance used for sealing bottles since the Roman Empire, replaced olive oil centuries ago, but cork is not a perfect solution to the vexing problem of protecting wine: between 3 and 5 percent is tainted with a noxious chemical compound that can ruin an otherwise perfect bottle. The debate about whether or not to continue using cork has torn through the multibillion dollar wine industry, pitting traditionalists against innovators, cork farmers against scientists: 'Says Brian Croser, one of Australia's leading winemakers, "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."' If it seems strange to harbor such passion about cork, Taber, a respected wine journalist, will do much to change your mind." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , 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."

"Synopsis" by , The author of the surprise hit "Judgment of Paris" uncorks another fascinating, extensively researched expos on wine: to cork or not to cork. Calling on his journalistic training and passion for wine, Taber traces the history of the cork and examines its modern substitutions.
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