Monday, July 16, 2012

To Screw, or Not To Screw?

More and more when you go into the wine aisle you will notice screw tops on the bottles! Upon seeing these bottles I know I thought to myself was “does screw that this is a cheaper wine?...does the sine of a screw top mean it is of a lesser quality?” and “does buying this wine make me look like a lush?” In doing some research on the use of this type of closure I have seen the same, or similar questions from many others.

The reality about screw tops may surprise you. However, before I reveal the result, I need to first inform you about the different types of ways used to seal wines.

Wine can have one of three different types of closures:
1.       Traditional Cork
2.       Synthetic Cork
3.       Screw Top

The oldest method of sealing a bottle of wine was to use a cork, which comes from the bark of a cork oak tree. There is a level of nostalgia that comes from removing a cork to open up the wine for your special occasion. However, many do not realize that those wines using a traditional cork are playing the cork lottery. The cork lottery is in reference to the potential of your bottle of wine being “corked,” a flat wine with a musty smell. A trait that comes from TCA, a substance used to sanitize corks. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 1/10 bottles of wine with a cork are plagued with this issue. :(

After over a century of using traditional corks, scientists developed the means to produce synthetic corks, those made with plastic. These newer corks are not subjected to the issue of creating a “corked” wine. HOWEVER, these corks have had a noticeably hard time controlling the oxidation of the wine. Oxygen is essential to developing, and aging great wine, but too much can create a horrible experience.

Finally, there is the creation and implementation of the screw top. The screw top has risen to the issues presented by the older methods, and conquered them. Yes, these wine closures have removed some of the mysticism around opening that bottle of wine with a cork screw. BUT, one should not let this fact alone prevent you from purchasing a wine that you may seriously enjoy during your next event.

So the next time you are in the store, do not turn a blind eye to the screw top, give it an honest chance, because you never know if you will like it till you try it. :)

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