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Snooth User: jamessulis

More and More Screw Tops

Posted by jamessulis, Apr 26, 2012.

Decided to pick up a six pack of wine today as my rack has been more outgoing rather than incoming. Purchased 4 Cabs and 2 blended reds. Was cruising here on Snooth looking up some of the Vineyards and noticed exactly half of the six pack had screw tops. Screwtops were on a Layer Cake Cab, a Big House Usual Suspect Cab and one that I was curious about called Flipflop Cabernet. A few years ago I thought it was anti-wine to mess with the cork but have since changed my opinion after having a couple of bottles with cork taint. I do believe that the screw top is of no matter to me anymore other than the nostalgia of the "POP of the CORK" and I can no longer use the top to blacken under my eyes for Halloween posing as a NFL linebacker.

Lefty - the Great Pacific Northwest


Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Apr 28, 2012.

I too am seeing more screw caps.  My understanding is that they work great for wines that are not meant to be aged.  Obviously, if a wine needs to be cellared, screw caps will not work since they do not breath, but from what I am reading/hearing, screw caps should be the closure of choice for at leat 80% of what comes out on the market yearly since they are "drink-me-now" wines.  Screw caps just don't seem nearly as sexy as corks, though.  "The times they are a changin'".

Reply by EMark, Apr 29, 2012.

Australia and New Zealand wine makers seem to be the most dedicated to Stelvins.  The common argurment that screw caps are not appropriate for age-worthy wines seems to be arguable.  Australian wine makers are putting an awful lot of red wine into screw caps.  Their argument is that it ages differently--and I take that to mean slower.  I've also noticed that Siduri, a maker of Pinot Noirs from numerous regions of Californi and Oregon, is putting an awful lot of their wine under screw cap.

So, I am willing to listen to more discussions on the aging of wines under screw caps.  I think the jury is still out.

The thing that bothers me about screw caps, and I just learned fairly recently, is that exposure to the cap's lining (some sort of plastic, I suppose) can negatively affect the taste.  So, the recommendation is to store them upright.

I am biased.  I want the screw caps to work.  I think it is so neat to pull out a bottle, twist off the cap and pour--no futzing with a cork remover, no worrying about the cork shredding.

About a month ago three of us were in a restauarant and ordered a bottle of wine.  This wine had a screw cap and the server girl--fairly petite, I have to say--could not remove the cap.  I don't know if she didn't have the strength or if something on her hand prevented her from gripping the cap securely.  I chivalrously opened the bottle for her, and we all had a chuckle.  We polished that bottle off pretty quickly and ordered a second.  When she brought that bottle, the cap had already been twisted loose.  I know this violates all kinds of restaurant wine service protocols, but it really didn't seem to bother us.

Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Apr 29, 2012.

EMark - Interesting story.  I assumed that a breathable barrier was necessary for the wine to evolve.  Only time will tell on the impact of Stelvins on the aging process.  Your comment about standing the bottles upright is also an interesting one, as it flies in the face of traditional storage methods and the racks/cabinets/coolers designed for such a purpose.

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 29, 2012.

As the highly esteemed GregT has pointed out, storing wine sideways (horizontally) has proven to be more convenient than anything, with the argument that storing sideways as necessary to ensure that the cork doesn't dry out being disproven to an extent. 

With most storage systems designed for storing horizontally, it'd seem that corks are still preferred for long term aging, with the perception being that corks allow for a good amount of oxidation over time, though i'm not really sure how much less, or if stelvin's allow for any oxidation at all stored upright.

Reply by zufrieden, May 4, 2012.

Go for the Stelvin, a good Rio Tinto Alcan (read: Canadian) invention.  It has superior closure to the European Oak and does not succumb to Brett. However, I do share the vague nostalgia for cork in the same way that I think wistfully of the Lionel Lines train set I received one fateful Christmas Day.  Conceive of the screwcap as an a improvement that allows you to stand your favourite wines upright in the stately manner they deserve.

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