Saturday, November 10, 2012

To Screwcap Or Not To Screwcap...That Is The Question.

I know that most people have a stigma about wine when it comes bearing a screwcap but I have a wine that will help put your issues to rest.  First off, let's dissect why a winery would use a screwcap (known as a Stelvin closure).  Traditional cork comes from either Portugal (mainly) or Spain and is shaved from cork trees once the tree turns about 25.  After the first stripping, the tree is stripped every ten years until the tree dies when it turns 200, although the first 2 strippings are usually too poor to use for quality level cork.

Now let's think about the wine world in the last 20 years and how some many new regions are making quality wines, requiring quality corks.  Since the demand is so high for cork, more trees are being shaved prematurely and therefore the end result, the wine, suffers.  With this explosion of crappy cork on the marketplace, compressed and plastic corks started making an appearance.  If you have been the happy recipient of a plastic cork, you know how hard it is to pull out of the bottle, but what you may have not known, the wine tends to suffocate as plastic doesn't breathe.  The cheaper the wine, the higher possibility  of a plastic cork.

Well, with this increasing usage of subpar cork, the investment in Stelvin (the name of the brand) closures, seemed like the best possible alternative.  Usually, a screwcap is thought of as a true indicator of a poor bottle of wine (ie, Gallo, Franzia, Carlo Rossi, etc.) but a Stelvin is a different style of closure that actually helps a wine age without having to be laid down on it's side.  If you think about it, a cork allows a wine to age because it's porous and allows oxygen in, allowing the wine to breathe.  If you open a young bottle (the year you drink it is close to the year on the label) and notice that the longer it's open the better it tastes, it's because oxygen has oxidized the juice and, effectively, aged it.  Like all living things (yes, wine is living and breathing), wine does die and it's a truly sad thing to behold.  So, the Stelvin company decided to take the screwcap world to the next level with a neutral liner inside that helps preserve the wine.

Enough schooling and textbook talk and let's talk vino.  The wine that sparked this post is one that I brought home from my favorite region in the world for wine; Burgundy France.  The 2010 Domaine Laroche Bourgogne Blanc Tete de Cuvee is the perfect under $20 bottle of Burgundy.  See all the info about this wine here (

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