Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Screw It

My whole life, I've heard that you can't get good wine if it has a screw cap. In fact, I grew up not liking wine, and it was not until a few years ago that I started enjoying wine. But when theWife and I started, we went all out. We bought a wine fridge and filled it pretty quickly with purchases from our semi-frequent wine country trips. And no, none of this wine had screw tops.

Then theFriend gave us a bottle of wine to take home and try that had a screw cap. He told me that he had just read that wineries were starting to use them more often. Articles like this:
The move to screw caps has been based around the high incidence of cork taint caused the chemical called 'TCA' which can mask the fruit characters in wine with musty aromas.

Screw caps preserve the freshness of wine better as well as eliminating the risk of cork taint - or corked wine. Screw caps provide an absolute, pilfer-proof seal that prevents oxygen from reaching the wine inside. This means the wine will age more slowly, less sulphur dioxide is required during winemaking and there is no variation in taste between bottles with long-term cellaring.
Or this:
More recently, there has been a renewed push for screw caps. The beverage industry has long regarded a screw cap as the nearly ideal closure. It is inexpensive, easy to apply, a very effective seal, and best of all, does not require a special tool (corkscrew) or skill to get at the product inside. Unfortunately, because of all of the tradition and mystique that pervade the wine industry, wine drinkers tend to associate a screw cap with inexpensive wines of low quality.

Fortunately, some of the more adventurous winemakers in Australia and California are beginning to bottle some of their better wines behind a high-quality screw cap made especially for the wine industry. The oldest wines are only three years old, but these early results indicate that the fruit character of a wine bottled with a screw cap exceeds that of a wine bottled using a cork.
So we cracked open that screw top bottle and tried it, and low and behold, we liked it. Now today I read another wine lover's thoughts and experiences with a screw cap bottle of wine:
Yes, as difficult as it is for me to admit it, I bought and consumed a bottle of wine with a screw top. What's worse is I liked it. A lot. I'm now kneeling in front of my dark red Sith Wine Master and swearing allegiance to him.

I know screw tops are supposed to be so much better technologically than corks. Still, it feels like I've betrayed my Jedi wine connoisseur brethren.
The wine industry has won me over on the idea that screw caps may be better for the wine. But take heed wine industry, no matter what articles I read in Wine Spectator and no matter what you the wine makers tell me, I will never be able to give wine in a box a shot a fair shot. I do have some standards left.

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