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Over the course of the last few decades, skrewcaps have been embraced by many wine producers. While they may not have the romantic appeal of a traditional cork… The reasoning for this is sound. Natural cork is expensive, and in short supply. A faulty cork can also RUIN a great bottle.
Skrew caps offer freedom from cork taint – a pesky bacterial growth found in natural cork that can reak havoc on your wine. Cork taint is the reason why the Somm or server pours the host a small sample of wine to try first before serving the rest of the table when you order a bottle of wine. This gesture is simply to make sure the wine has not been spoiled.
NOTE: This is not your chance to reject a wine based on personal preference, or begin writing your tasting notes. Why does the server leave the cork on the table for you? Hint: it is not because it is a souvenir. It is a gift for you to inspect via a sniff for off odours – like the smell of rotting cardboard, or wet dog.
Because this bacterial pest can ruin epic bottles, quality-conscious producers, initially in Australia and New Zealand, began using skrewcap closures.
Sadly early skrewcaps (and current cheap skrewcaps) were not necessarily better than corks. A natural cork closure allows wine to breathe, with slow oxygen maturation. It is why bottles should be laid on their side in order to keep the cork from drying out, and allow slow, prolonged oxygen permiation into the wine via the porous cork.
So what does this mean for our friend the skrewcap? Well, in cheap wines that are made to be consumed within a year… There is no need to lay them on their side. Even in a higher end maturation worthy wine, a single year on it’s side will make little difference to maturation.
However, in higher end wines, manufacturers have tried to mimic the porous nature of a cork closure. Specially engineered caps, like certain versions of the Stelvin closure, allow controlled oxygen maturation via a permiable seal in the wine. These are cellar worthy bottles, best stored on their side to reap the benefits for years to come.
However, at the end of the day, when in doubt… If you don’t plan on drinking it soon… No matter what closure you have… lay it on it’s side. You will never go wrong.
So you want to learn how to taste wine? First of all, congratulations on an excellent choice of a fabulous hobby! I may be a little biased, but clearly wine tasting is an exercise that I enjoy more than… pretty much anything! What was once a hobby, turned into an obsession, and after formal training, became my career.
But I digress…
Many people feel that they are incapable of picking out flavours in wine. When you read the back label of a bottle that lists notes of peach, lychee, and lemongrass… then take a sniff and a swig and fall short on getting well… any of that… it can be easy to feel discouraged and assume that something is wrong with you and your palate.
I am here to comfort you… because this is often not the case.
Picked up a special bottle, or found yourself unable to consume your treasure for an extended period of time? Don’t have a beautiful custom cellar in your home? Not to fret! Thinking a wine rack in the kitchen would be perfect? You may want to save your money. Check out the below video!
In my last post I talked about what happens to wine as it ages, and some may read it and think that I do not favour aged wine. NOT TRUE! There are amazing age worthy bottles out there, that will offer up a sip of heaven if you are patient. You just have to find them!
So you are out shopping and want to find a bottle that you can keep away for a special occasion 5+ years down the road. What do you look for?
First of all, you have to enjoy savory characteristics in your wine. For more info on why, and what happens to flavors in wine as it ages, see my post Some things are better with age… SOME
In order for a wine to age and develop well, it has to have specific structural components that ensure it A) Does not turn to Vinegar or B) Generally start to taste Gawd Awful. Think of it like a well built building. If it is made up of poor quality materials, that were not assembled correctly… it won’t last.
These structural components are as follows: Continue reading “Ageing with grace… How to I.D. and pick out an age worthy bottle of wine”
Make special note of the words “SOME” and “fine” above!
How many times have you been told that wine is better with age? Whether it be directly or indirectly, there is a common misconception around wine that can be summed up as “the older the wine, the better it is.”
However, the reality of this is simply not the case. I had the pleasure of professionally reviewing 271 Wines this past year – a tough task, I know! One of the key components to my assessment of a wine, was blindly evaluating it’s age, and it’s ageing potential. When I took my WSET Level 3 Advanced Exam we had to correctly identify the age of a wine blind. Needless to say, through plenty of practice, I learned a thing or two!
The reality is, not all wines age well. Continue reading “Like a fine wine, some things are better with age…. SOME”