Love them or hate them; Screwcaps are the BEST closure for wine in the bottle. (Period.)
Lesson 1.- Blind tasters pick screwcaps, in every single tasting they vote heavily for screwcaps, (a.k.a. Stelvin® closure. Stelvin, which rhymes with Melvin.) Sometimes seventeen to one in favor of the Stelvin® closure. These blind taste tests reveal that wine drinkers prefer the flavors of wine from bottles closed with the Stelvin® closure, tasters comment on the wines being more aromatic and showing more complexity. Even wine aged in bottle with the Stelvin® closure wins! At this years Vinitaly a selection of top Australian wines matured under both screwcap and cork led to “ground breaking” results during a blind tasting...the international panel of judges voted for the wines aged under screwcap!
Lesson 2.- Stelvin® closure failure rate is virtually ZERO. And, cork taint is very real; 2 to 5% of bottles with cork closure are ruined because of bad corks. Faulty corks generate a nasty chemical compound called TCA (2,4,6 Trichloroanisole) Cork taint gives wine a musty, wet cardboard character. Then there is the great account of the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon reserve from Plumpjack; half of the production was bottled with Stelvin® closures and the other half with corks. I have met customers who had one of each and the cork sealed wine was tainted.
Lesson 3.- Time tested, the Stelvin® closure is nothing new. In fact the first screwcap is Patented by Dan Rylands in the UK in 1889 it found its first practical use on whiskey bottles, replacing corks. (When is the last time you used a corkscrew to open your bottle of liquor? Don't you miss the romance???) Then in 1950's the Stelvin® cap was developed in France specifically as a wine bottle closure and is still a registered trademark of French manufacturer Pechiney. In the decades since it's creation many laboratory test have been conducted. Chemical analysis proves that the Stelvin® closure is better for wine in a bottle, time and time again. and again...
One of you is thinking; "well, aren't corks time tested?" And I will refer you to the Chris's writing over at the Grapeful Dregs wine blog; "There are a lot of traditions in winemaking, and sealing the bottle with a cork is one of them, but think about this for a moment: The winemaker nurtures the soil, carefully tends the grapes, waits for just the right amount of sugar content, scrutinizes the fermentation, sterilizes the bottles and then stuffs a hunk of tree bark in the neck of that bottle. Does that make any sense to you? No, me either."
And, if you need more technical information; look here.
Do you have a screwcap experience you would like to share? Please comment below...