Cupid, wine cork and pleasure of life


Perhaps it will seem strange to find beneath a headline that says “Cupid” the name of a Benedictine monk, Dom Pierre Pérignon, moreover in these pages about Italian wines, yet this French religious lived between 1600 and 1700 did something very important, that is also true here in Tuscany, in the Chianti Classico, Super Tuscans and Vernaccia di San Gimignano area. In fact, in addition to the invention of a drink called… Champagne, it is also credited with the invention of the cork for bottling wine. Before his idea, to close the bottles they used rags fastened with wax, while large round corks were used exclusively to close large amphorae and oil jars: even today you can see them in some wineries. Cork was tried and chosen by the abbot – who had custody of the whole abbey, the cultivated land with vineyards and olives trees and the wine cellars – because it is an elastic material impervious to liquid but with microscopic natural cavities in its structure that allow air and oxygen to pass, very slowly. So, after bottling, good wines aging in the cellar continue to have a very slow oxygenation, which increases flavor and aromas, giving the wine more personality, more softness and elegance.

You can easily tell if a bottle has a good cork, when will be extracted, because you’ll see its compactness, its uniform color and feel its scent: a good cork never gives its smell to the wine!

The extraction sound of a cork is a good indicator to understand the quality of a wine, a unique little “pop” sharp and precise: in Italy “uncork a bottle” is synonymous with “celebrating”. So, the restaurant and during our wine tasting tour stay near the sommelier and discover the “voice” of a good cork, which leaves the passage to the wine into the glasses. Also think that film directors, not to create scandals, use to let see or hear the opening of a wine bottle to indicate that the protagonists would make love; memorable, for example, the scene in “Patriot games” with Anne Archer and Harrison Ford. So, among the many important functions that Dom -Dominus- Pèrignon has entrusted to the cork, there is also (unintentionally) that of the chaste … Cupid.