Saturday, February 23, 2008

Does Wine Age Under Screw Cap?

It is not my intent in this post to rehash all the arguments for and against cork or screw caps. All I know is that at the present time, I do not have any wines aging in my humble little cellar that are under screw cap. While each side has put forth strong arguments, some proponents have taken an almost religious do or die approach. Its black and white and the other side better wake up. After all, says New Zealand we are mostly under screw cap, so we must be right. Others are taking a more reasoned approach and have an ongoing evaluation wine program. Most of these evaluations have not been very scientific and it is difficult to keep subjectivity out of the picture. And the power of suggestion plays its role as well. After all, recently a group of tasters chose a cheap wine, which they were told was expensive, as the best and the expensive wine which they were told was cheap as their least liked wine. So can tasting wines with cork and screw cap closures for evaluation, even when done blind, be anymore believable? Amorim believes that more research will lead to the development of an improved cork closure that every one can be happy using.
When I cellar my wines it is with the intent on having them develop and mature. And if a closure prevents that from happening and gives me a wine with all its fresh, lively fruit just like the day it was bottled, then why would I cellar it?
So I was happy to read that Nomacorc and UC Davis are conducting research into how oxygen
influences the evolution of wine and hopefully determine what constitutes the optimum closure(s). Chemical markers will be used to evaluate the evolution of key wine molecules exposed to different amounts of oxygen. All very scientific and very objective.
We will just have to wait till August 2009 for the results. In the meantime when I am in the mood for a fresh, zippy, fruity wine I will buy that delicious New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and when the mood strikes me for a serious mature rich red I'll take my chances and dig up something I have been aging for a while. Happy drinking to all of you out there!!


Anonymous said...

I have used "screwcaps" on a few wines in recent years. What is not known by many folks who don't actually order them from the manufacturer is that the lining of the cap is available in different materials and porosity grades that allow for different levels of oxygen exchange. Not all "screwcaps" are hermetic seals.

Wilf G.K said...

Patrick, thank you very much for your comment. You are right of course.Boisset Family of fine wines in France has actually taken the lead and have used a Stelvin Lux+ on one of their Premier Crus wines.Have a look at my March 18, 2007 archived blog entry on that.
It will interesting to see what those wines will be like in a few years. I am in touch with them to get a follow up.Thanks again for stopping by.

Nick said...

Interesting post Wilf - thanks for the info! I am keen to see the results in 2009.