Hats off to a Basque chef

January 14th, 2011 | Uncategorized

When you stop to think how many wine bottles are opened during the course of a year, and how many different shapes, sizes and colours there are, you have to ask yourself why does it take a Spanish chef to come up with a creative, and innovative design?

The three-starred Michelin chef Martin Berasategui has won the packaging equivalent of an Oscar for his new bottle at a presentation in Paris.

Unfortunately this innovative new bottle shape that is designed to capture wine sediment deposited at the bottom of some red wines, and therefore is of little use to us – if our albariño started to leave a sediment in the bottle then we really would have a serious wine-making problem on our hands.

It is a little difficult to see from this particular photograph but the bottle has a second ‘neck’ at the bottom that simply stops any deposit from flowing through (assuming of course that the bottle is handled carefully). Whilst I have to admit that this is a great idea, I am not so sure about the second part of the ‘Martin Berasategui System’, as it is known. Apparently to reap the full benefit of the system the bottle should ideally be transported and stored in an inclined position – not upright, nor laying down. Obviously, in order to acheive this position special cases and wine racks are also required, and I therefore ask myself, if the wine is not fully inclined for long-term storage is there a possibility that corks could dry out, thus leading to possible oxidation?

By the way, when I mentioned the presence of deposits in albariño, it is of course possible that white wines such as ours could precipitate tartrate crystals. In order to prevent this we cold-treat the wine (chill it very rapidly to -5°C and hold it for a week) which ensures that tartrates are removed before bottling. Personally I think that cold treatment is detrimental to our wine as it removes a little character, and in an ideal world I would not do it. The problem is that the majority of consumers see the presence of any tartrate crystals as undesirable, whereas in fact they are in reality, completely harmless. Pity.

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