Corked Wine Debate Continues Its Corkscrew Path


If you're still hanging onto the idea that wines with screw caps are a sure-fire path to wine perdition, you're about 10 years behind the times. 
Yet some countries – buenos días, Spain – refuse to succumb to the screw cap and maintain their cork-only bottling laws. 
What to make of the cork-vs.-metal closure debate? 
The Wall Street Journal wine maven Lettie Teague offered her insight into the debate this past week. She started her story with a scene from a train journey she recently took to New York. 
A group of men in their 30's enter the car she's sitting in, find their seats and promptly begin a discussion about what and where they'll drink once the pull into the Big Apple. 
One of the gents piped in with his concerns about a bottle of screw-cap wine he received as part of this wine club membership. The misinformed fellow and one of his colleagues both expressed their apprehension. “Uh-oh,” they quipped.
Their unease about the screw cap is understandable. Like boxed wine and wine-in-a-can, screw caps were very a much a Kiwi and Aussie thing before they caught on in the U.S. However, that migration from Eurasia to North America is a matter of past history and not the newly unfolding trend many nominal wine drinkers think it is. 
“I was surprised by the exchange,” Teague wrote about her train eavesdropping. “Wines bottled with screw caps have become so common place that I assumed everyone thought they were just as good as wines closed with corks.”
Not one to flaunt a flippant opinion based on frivolity rather than fact, Teague conducted a basic experiment in her home. She tried three different wines which each had a different closure: natural cork, synthetic cork and screw cap.
After  loitering about  in her fridge for a few days, she took the three bottles out and tasted them. The screw-cap wine was noticeably brighter and more lively than it's corked cousins, leading Teague to talk with the producer of the screwy winner, New Zealand's James Healy. 
Healy told Teague that the key to a screw-cap wine's staying power is the fact that the metal cap can keep oxygen out of the bottle longer than natural corks or synthetic corks. 
Perhaps most telling about Healy's opinions was that he said he closed with cork about 10 percent of his wines because he fancied the natural closures “old-fashioned.” 
The rest of the world has yet to follow suit, though. Teague pointed out that about 7 out of every 10 bottles of wine in the world are closed with cork. 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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