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Snooth User: JimD

Aging of screw capped bottles

Posted by JimD, Mar 15, 2012.

What is the ageability of wine sealed under twist caps?

What changes (if any) have you experienced with bottles sealed under screw caps?

I have been told stories of the same vintage and producer putting half their Pinot Noir under stelvin and the other half under cork. I was told the cork version was beyond it's peak after 8 years and the stelvin capped was drinking well after 8 years.

How do you ascertain the "right time" to drink a bottle of screw capped wine?



Reply by outthere, Mar 15, 2012.

That's easy for me because the majority of Stelvin closure wines I buuy are drink me now or enjoyed young.

Reply by JimD, Mar 15, 2012.

I'm living in Australia where more than 90% of the wines are closed under stelvin caps.

There are a large number of 90+ point wines that are under screw cap. There are big tanin reds like Durif/Petit Syrah.  Should they not be put away for another day?

Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Mar 15, 2012.

JimD, the same problem is discussed in another post. I can copy and paste my word here but probably is more simple if u read the other one... :)

Reply by EMark, Mar 15, 2012.


The story that you relate about the PN that is past it's peak under cork, but still improving under Stelvin is consistent with the a lot of experiences that I have read lately on this topic.  It appears that wine ages slower under the Stelvin that under the cork.  This is neither a good nor a bad thing.  Unfortunately, only experience will teach us how to determine the "right time" to open a wine under Stelvin.  So, I say, "Yes, those high tannin 90+ wines under screw cap that you have should be laid down."  As you open them, let us know how they are tasting.  Here is the really good news, you won't have to worry about cork taint.

Obviously, Australia and New Zealand are way ahead of the rest of the world in the acceptance of Stelvin.  (Although, I am aware of some wineries here in California who are making the commitment to Stelvin) 

Here is another confusing factor, though:  don't be surprise if another new closure technology emerges and all these questions get asked again.

Reply by GregT, Mar 16, 2012.

Jim - the aging question is a good one and I"m not sure anyone has an answer, largely because nobody has an answer to how wine ages under cork.  We have anecdotal evidence but hardly any real science.  As each cork is different, we have to generalize from the specific.  That's problem number one.

Problem number two is that different vintages age differently.  Problem number three is that winemaking varies.  Problem number four is that different varieties age differently. And all of those interact with each other. So does putting 5% of a variety into a 95% monovarietal wine affect the aging?  Sure.  And the more varieties we add, the more we introduce uncertainty.  Remember that monovarietal wine is not the norm. 

So we make best guesses based on past performance under similar circumstances.

And then there's the role of oxygen. Some reactions need oxygen, some don't, some will take a different pathway w/out oxygen than they would if there were more oxygen. So let's say we're ignoring all the first variables I mentioned and focusing only on the role of oxygen in aging. We really can't, because we don't know how it is involved with all of those other things.  What we can say is that based on emperical evidence, screwcapped wines tend to taste fresher on the whole in that they keep their fruit. Corks that provide perfect seals can do as good a job, but again, each cork is different so after a few years, each bottle is different. However, that doesn't mean that wine under screwcap does NOT age.  It just means that it ages differently. So a 20 year old Barolo for example, will not taste freshly bottled as some of the chemistry will have been unaffected by the closure, but it won't taste like a cork wine. 

Again, part of the problem is that we don't know specifically what we want out of an aged wine in terms of the chemistry. Some of the aromatic compounds that we get are a result of aging processes but some are directly from the fruit and/or wood.  So if we don't destroy those fragile compounds, we can keep some of the young as well as develop some of the old.  There's not a lot of money put into research on those things because while the wine market itself is pretty big, there's not a dominant player on the order of Ford or General Electric or Samsung to fund a lot of research.  Interesting question tho.

Reply by Stephanie Zhang, Mar 16, 2012.
Reply by zufrieden, Mar 16, 2012.

My advice (and I have decades of tasting experience) is to trust the Canadian invention of the Stelvin seal (ALCAN).  It has far superior reliability than cork and is not subject to the off-putting problem of brett (essentially, and simply put: cork taint).  Let's save (or not - they could end up as real estate "development") the cork forests in Portugal and Southern France and stick to Stelvin.

Aging potential is better for obvious reasons (already stated) and the purity of the orignal vinification is retained as well.

And, BTW, wine under any stoppage ages; there are chemical changes that have nothing to do with cork stoppers.  So embrace the new and embrace the screwcap; only expect a bit longer and more reliable aging - if the wine needs this, of course (most modern wines do not).

Good tippling!

Reply by Anthony Tuting, Mar 17, 2012.

I found an 05 Chardonnay from a Mudgee (AUS) winery called Vinifera under screw cap was tasting like a young oaked chardonnay of 2-3 years (consistent with moderm chardonnay wine making style) however the colour was a bright straw/yellow colour similar to an aged style chardonnay - very interesting to see how things develop under screw cap. I guess time will in the case tell.

Has anyone tried to develop a screw cap aging scale?

Reply by fredaevans, Mar 17, 2012.

"Here is another confusing factor, though:  don't be surprise if another new closure technology emerges and all these questions get asked again."

Effectively already  here with 'boxed wine.' As it collapses as the wine is used its kept 'air free' from the first to (more or less) last serving. For just quaffing, some of this stuff isn't too bad; some ..... :>(

Reply by VegasOenophile, Mar 17, 2012.

Very interesting, I was thinking the same things.  I would estimate that a Stelvin caop will allow a wine to age longer and more slowly retaining the wines fresnhess for a good period.  I think wineries are smart also to use this so long as the stigma of a "screw top" dies down.  It takes away all chance of cork taint and oxidation from weak or flawed cork, so if the wine is bad, it's the vintner's fault most likely which would be far less common than people perceiving it as bad due to their ignorance of cork taint and just "not liking it." 

This was Andrew Vingiello's philosophy.  He produces A.P. Vin.  Fantastic vineyard specific pinot noirs, all screw tops.  I used to love exposing people to them.  Recommending a pinot that is around $50 retail (much of his 2009s with high scores from WS), that has a screw top.  Once tasted, people had nothing to say about the closure.

I can't wait to see how these evolve and age with this closure and isn't that part of what we all enjoy most about wine?  The experimentation and revisiting of great wines?

Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Mar 17, 2012.

Vegas, screw cap is a good option and allow slower evolution as you say but, is that always a good thing? If we talk about short evolution wines surely it is. Maybe with mid-lenght but assuming that screw cap can make its job perfectly for 50+ years, what can happen with a long aging wine (30+ years)? After 30 years i open a great bottle of Barolo in its halfway to the complete evolution. Would be a great disappointment!!! After 30 years I want fully evolved wine! I really don't want a wine that need a century to evolve. I want to enjoy my wines not take them to the grave with me.

Reply by Miss Stelvin, Mar 19, 2012.

Hi everybody, very interesting debate, it will help our team to enhance our products ! Did you heard about Chateau Margaux thinking about moving to screw caps ? You can read the article on

Please join us on Facebook , be part of the community and explain us why you like Stelvin® screwcaps ! We also have a twitter account @StelvinScrewcap



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