Yours sincerely, Disgusted of SW8

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I must be getting old… I’m writing letters to magazines.

Recently there was an article in TIME magazine on Portugal’s cork industry, which contained one glaring error.

Herewith my (unpublished) letter:

“Sir,

I read Chris Redman’s article on Portugal’s cork industry (“A New Twist”, November 8, 2010) with great interest.

However, I suspect that Redman had overindulged in sampling the local wines, as well as being deluged by cork industry propaganda.

He claims that with synthetic corks, “Wines can’t breathe.” On the contrary, they breathe too much, which leads to oxidation and precludes long ageing of the wine. Synthetic corks are therefore suitable only for inexpensive wines that are meant to be drunk shortly after purchase.

But as Redman correctly points out, natural cork “Allows the wine to breathe, which is important for bottle aging.” This is why the finest wines, which are built to last, continue to be sealed under natural cork.”

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