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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Jeremy Bull, chief winemaker at Taylor Fonseca for 40 years and now a wine consultant to Quinta do Portal, is the latest wine trade figure to hit out at cork stoppers. Bull was speaking at a tutored tasting of Quinta do Portal in London last week (24 October) with the well-known French winemaker Pascal Chatonnet (look out for Margaret Rand's profile in a forthcoming issue of Harpers), who also consults for Portal. With two of the bottles of Port at the tasting deemed tainted, Bull said that with so many more wines being made, the quality was diminishing and the average number of corked' wines was increasing. He argued that, The answer is to stop using cork. I think the alternatives are a bloody sight better. Unfortunately, we cannot persuade the old-fashioned wine trade to change.' Chatonnet also criticised the quality of cork being offered to companies and said that quality control in the factories and wineries needs to be improved. He also announced that Portal is building a new winery and cellar which should be ready for the 2003 vintage. The wines tasted comprised: Quinta do Portal's 1999 and 2000 Reservas; 1996 and 2000 Grande Reservas; 1999 and 2000 Touriga Nacional; 1997 and 2000 Tinta Roriz; 1995, 1997 and 2000 Vintage Port; 1996 and 2000 (cask sample) Late Bottled Vintage; Cellar Reserve and ten and 20-year-old Tawnies.