Word of the Week: Screwcap

Have you ever “snapped” open a wine? Not every bottle is plugged with a cork. In fact, over the last several decades a chief competitor to cork has emerged in the wine world: the screwcap. Also commonly referred to as “Stelvin” closures, the name of the most well-known manufacturer, screwcaps were first introduced as an alternative to cork in 1959, after proving successful in the spirits market. The reputation of screwcaps often suffers from an association with cheap rather than fine wines. While you may gain ease with a screwcap, some argue you lose a bit of the romance found in the ritual of uncorking a bottle. That scratchy, snapping sound when you unscrew a bottle doesn’t have the same tableside effect as the elegance of needling out a cork. Nonetheless, a great deal of winemakers believe that screwcaps are actually the superior wine closure for long term ageing, and several will bottle more expensive offerings under screwcap. With a screwcap, you eliminate the possibility of a wine being “corked,” a disastrous flaw that affects roughly 3-5% of wines bottled with cork. New Zealand and Australia have long been champions of the screwcap. As of 2014, approximately 95% of New Zealand wines were sealed under screwcap, as well as 80% of Australian wine. But, the increasing popularity of the screwcap isn’t limited to Oceania. In 1997, the high-end Napa Valley winery Plumpjack bottled half of the production of their premium Cabernet Sauvignon under screwcap, the rest under cork. As many showed preference for the screwcapped rendition, the groundbreaking moment suggested that even for high-end wines, the screwcap might just come out “on top.”

Plumpjack

Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Another crowd pleaser when I can find it on the menu. Oakville has so many amazing examples, and this is definitely on my favorites hit list. Love everything about it, as it exemplifies the region. Rich soil producing a strong structure, sweet tannins, bold fruit and earthiness that does not overpower. Of course this can lay down for a longer time, but I have so little time and so little patience. — a year ago

Jeff, Shay and 10 others liked this

Cloudy Bay

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Cloudy Bay's Sauvignon Blanc was the New Zealand shot heard around the wine world. Today, they still prove to be leaders with the grape. Drawn from the Wairau Valley, if you like Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, it's hard not to be captivated by Cloudy Bay's. Explosive and beaming with its audacious greenness, the wine shouts of oregano, green pepper, thyme, tomato leaf, and most every other classic flavor you can associate with New Zealand SB. Cloudy Bay's still got it - and with the 2017 you can taste their mastery. — 18 days ago

David and Maria liked this

Odette

Estate Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Greg Ballington
9.4

Last blind red for my father’s 53rd birthday. We tried four 2014s, two were Cabernet Sauvignons and two were Bordeaux Blends.

Completely coats the glass, dark purplish red. Super dark and rich on the nose with baking spices, black fruits, gravel, and dark chocolate. Heavy tannins (7.5/10) and full bodied. Tight and rough palate to start. After a 3.5 hr decant it started to open up nicely with a layered richness. Notes of black currants, berries, cinnamon, dark cocoa and spices. Long and lingering finish. Drink till 2037.
— 4 months ago

Sean BallingtonIndia Okoh
with Sean and India
Isaac, Paul and 29 others liked this
Phil A

Phil A Premium Badge

@Greg Ballington Greg nice article Cheers from Canada 🍷🇨🇦

Torbreck Vintners

Woodcutter's Barossa Valley Sémillon 2004

Steve Matthiasson
9.1

Very rich (9 year old semillon), but plenty of verve, almost like a very good roussane, quite different than hunter valley semillon. — 5 years ago

Aaron, Alex and 1 other liked this

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Vin Gris De Cigare Rosé Grenache Blend 2016

I look forward to this wine all year, every year. It's about half Grenache with smatterings of Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre and Carignane. The light pink color is very Provençal, and the nose falls into line with it. Aromas of strawberry and watermelon are in the forefront, with plenty of herbal influence. On the palate, it drinks more red than pink, with cherry, currant and licorice on display. The acidity is plainly perfect, and a nutty savoriness just peeks through and lingers on the finish. — a year ago

Doug, Riddley and 5 others liked this

Greywacke

Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014

Quite dark redblue color for a PN; the nose is full of raspberries and dark cherry but also has some savoury forest leather/game type of aromas; taste contains all from the nose plus high spicy acids, some oak flavours and weak small tannins. Very well made NZ pinot, paired with Montana intenso cheese, Chianti salami, and Shostakovich's 8th quartet. — 8 months ago

Shawn liked this

Siduri

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Two Pinot Noir lovers, Adam and Dianna Lee, founded Siduri Wines in 1994, producing only four and a half barrels of Pinot Noir that first vintage. Now they make over 10,000 cases of Pinot Noir. Dark Ruby with dark fruit aromas and sweet spice. On the palate blackberry and ripe cherry flavors with sweet cacao and fragrant spice. Focused soft tannins, balanced acidity on lingering finish, very nice! — a year ago

Daniel P. and Brian liked this