Monday, May 11, 2009
I think most people, some of my friends and family members included, adhere to the misinformed notion that screw-capped wines = cheap, mass-produced wines à la Arbor Mist. The reality is that many high-quality wine makers use screw caps because they believe caps protect wine better than cork stoppers. There is scientific evidence to support this belief.
The greatest problem associated with corks is cork taint, which is caused by 2,4,6-trichloranisole (or TCA), a compound which develops in a small percentage of all corks produced. TCA affects the taste of wine by imparting a distinctive musty aroma similar to wet newspapers or cardboard.
It only affects about 5% or more of all bottled wine, and the casual wine drinker might not even recognize it. But to the serious wine drinker it could potentially affect the enjoyment of their favorite wine.
Austrian wine maker Fred Loimer, his Grϋner Veltliner LOIS is pictured, makes many a fine screw-capped wine. The LOIS retails online for $13.99, not too expensive, but not cheap either.
Another wine maker, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz, CA, ONLY uses screw caps on his wines.
Visually-speaking I'm a cork girl. It's a classic look. Shiny glass bottle, with a ruby-tinged or crisp-smelling cork. Still, no more will I look down upon a wine based on the type of stopper used.
I also need to stop apologizing or explaining when I give or order a screw-capped bottle of wine. Stop saying, "Please ignore the cap. This is good wine. Really." And start saying, "Hey, let's unscrew this wine and get to toasting!"