The Cork and the wine
In the Chianti cellars, stored horizontally lie the bottles of wine that, after maturing in barrels, are making the refinement, that means … they are still working.
If you take a Tuscany wine tour at this time of the year, you will see in the wine cellars of Chianti, the wine region near Florence, oak wood barrels containing the aging wines as well as bottles laid down with the wine improving itself while sleeping in the long dim corridors.
The bottles must be placed in a horizontal position to keep the cork always wet so it does not lose its elasticity and does not dry causing the passage inside the bottle of too much air, which might oxidize the wine.
The refinement is a sophisticated interaction between enzymes and yeasts inside the wine and the micro oxygen that has to come from the cork into the bottle, acting as if it were the cautious chisel of an artist.
In the Italy wine world, the best cork comes from the island of Sardinia, where there are beautiful woods of cork oak trees, which can reach 20 meters in height. A cork oak tree, before you have the right cortex must reach 25-30 years of age and a circumference of not less than 60 cm, and then the cork will be good to fruition every 12-13 years: in Sardinia tradition says that the cortex is taken by hand by cork specialists, from May to August, when it comes off more easily, and the plant doesn’t suffer.
Some wineries use other materials for their corks, but there is nothing that can replace the natural cork, particularly from the point of view of the sound. Whether it is a champagne stopper left free to “jump” in a party or the cork skewered by the corkscrew during a wine tour from Florence : the perfect and precise sound of a cork that opens the bottle is unique.