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To pop or to screw?

Well unscrew actually, but I needed a catchy title!


Generically people who drink wine feel that the top of the bottle defines what the juice inside will taste like. Well that might have been true in the 70s, but definitely not now. As cork is growing more expensive, the world population is getting bigger, hence more drinkers, and thoughts turn to sustainability of our cork forests (actually Portugal) is more and more an issue, wineries are turning to other alternatives from partial corks, synthetic corks, and screw caps...."finally" all the Aussies say. (The Australians and New Zealanders converted to screw caps on almost all their wines starting in the 90s.) Go Aussies!


As a lover of wine, some would say connossieur, I wouldn't....I just love wine and have a lot of knowledge about it. Anyway, as a drinker and seller of wine I am tired of explaining to people that what seals the wine is not indicative of the quality. There are definitely wines that I've had that were sealed with a natural cork and I absolutely hated them, and those that had a screw cap that were absolutely amazing (like this Burgundy I'm drinking now....Yumm!)


It's also easier to top and untop reds, and I'm sorry there is something satisfying about cracking a screw top. (You were expecting me to say the 'popping' sound!) It's kind of like beers, it used to be the bottle cap sound was better than the can sound....not anymore. Technology has changed and so has the wine world. There have been so many advances in the enclosing of wine.


What about breathability you ask....well there are screw caps and synthetic corks that release oxygen to the wine in measured quantities. A natural cork does this, but it's not measured so you can't be sure how much oxygen is going into the wine, but with these screw caps/synthetic corks you can.....Technology! Also there is the issue of TCA or cork taint. This is a default in wine corks that leads to wine being corked....musty, wet dog smelling and really tasting. Hence why the Australians switched over after a lot of bad corks!


Also I've never understood the argument of breathability, since there is a sealant on top of the cork so that the cork doesn't dry out. So where do you think the oxygen is coming from? The oxygen is coming from the cork itself not the air in your basement.


In the 1400s wine in bottles started to become a thing. The discovery of cork as a topper was great because it would expand to make a tight seal, great for wines since no air could destroy them. But it wasn't always this way. before this discovery resin, pine pitch, beeswax, and even glass toppers were used. (So we are stuck with13th century technology? Come on people evolve!)


Now I understand there is something satisfying in popping a cork, but a wine with a screw cap is sooo much easier to store once open. You can lay it down in the fridge and it won't leak! Because of this factor, I like this option; as a single woman I don't want to start the habit of finishing a bottle on my own every time-even though it does happen! Red wines are easier too, heaven forbid you knock the bottle over, but if you do you hope you put the cork in tightly (if you can fit it back in) or that you had a screw top!


So all in all, wines that have corks are great, but don't poo-poo the screw top! These two bottles were both in the $40-50 range. So next time you go to a party and someone brings a screwtop, judge the juice not the enclosure! Otherwise you might be missing out on some great wine!




There is good and bad on all sides, and in the end isn't it about the juice in the bottle and not the aesthetics?


All these wines can be found at Waterfront Wine and Spirits