The variety of wine closures has never been so diverse. While natural cork is the traditional closure method for glass wine bottles, composite cork, synthetic corks, Zorks, glass Vino-Loks and screw caps all can be found safely keeping wine protected until you decide to pop the top and enjoy your wine. This past weekend I found a wine closure that I had never seen or even heard about before. After removing the capsule from a 2007 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne "Les Sétilles," I was puzzled by white and black concentric rubber rings where the cork should be. Poking it with my fingers a few times did little to remove the unknown device. I decided that a corkscrew was the only way to liberate this Chardonnay. With a slight pull I had a bullet-shaped multi-material synthetic closure in my hand with "Guala Seal" embossed on the bottom.
Perhaps better known as the AS-Elite, produced by Ardea Seal, this interesting contraption is uniquely designed with three distinct components. The AS Elite uses a polypropylene chassis to maintain rigidity inside of the thermoplastic elastomer body. The final, and most unique, component is the inert techno-polymer shield that is the only part in contact with the wine. The makers of this product go as far as claiming that it is "probably the best closure in the world." While they offer no support of this claim, I would be interested in tasting a variety of wines that have been bottled and aged with AS-Elites, cork and screw cap in the future. In addition to the interesting closure, I also was able to enjoy a very nice Chardonnay with dinner!
2007 Olivier Leflaive, Bourgogne "Les Sétilles", France
This Chardonnay, imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd., is from a vineyard that straddles Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault. It pours a clear, light-yellow color. On the nose, lemon, tarragon and nuts dominate with a slight hint of grassy notes. This is tart in the mouth! Lemon, pomelo, tart apple and melon lead on the forepalate but yield to a medium-length finish of chalk, nutmeg and smoke. Not overly complex, but a nice, simple entry-level white Burgundy. 13.0% abv Purchased $17. Good (tasted 11/28/10)