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Corks vs. Screw Caps

Wine CorkI’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to wine corks. When I see a screw top I’m immediately a little put off. In the past screw tops were synonymous with cheep wine. This is no longer the case, there are many very nice bottles of wine that have moved to screw caps, but it’s still a let down when you order a nice bottle of wine at a restaurant and it comes with a screw top.  Call me old-fashioned, pretentious… what ever, but twisting the lid off a bottle of wine just doesn’t have the same ambiance as removing a cork.

Though I am not alone in my partiality to corks there are advantages to the screw caps:

  1. Screw caps cost the winery less than cork
  2. You are much less likely to get a bottle of corked or oxidized wine with a screw cap.
  3.  If you’re single like me you can’t always finish a bottle of wine the day you open it and a screw cap keeps the wine for a little bit longer than a cork. (Though you can get bottle topers that prolong the life of your open bottle, like the Rabbit wine preserver.) 

This being said I still prefer corks. A screw top won’t stop me from buying a wine, in fact one of my favorite wines, Layer Cake Shiraz, is a screw cap, but I still like my corks!

How do you feel about screw caps? Are you all for them or do you prefer the traditional cork?

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What Does Corked Mean?

Have you ever wondered why people swirl, sniff and taste a wine before they begin drinking it? It’s not because they are pretentious and trying to look sophisticated, they are actually trying to detect whether a bottle of wine is corked.

What is corked wine?

You may be wondering what a corked wine is, in the simplest of terms it’s a bottle of wine that has gone bad before it is opened. Now this is really dumbing down what it really is so I’m going to give you the more complicated answer too.

Corked wine or cork taint is usually caused when a cork is contaminated with  TCA (2,4,6- trichloroanisole), though sometimes other factors can cause a wine to be corked. A wine with cork taint is perfectly safe to drink but it drastically changes the normal characteristic of the wine.  It only takes a very minuscule amount of TCA on a cork to ruin a bottle of wine; we’re talking parts per trillion and depending on the amount of TCA present it may not be obvious a wine has been tainted. Approximately 3% to 5% of corks are tainted, depending on whom you talk to (some say more then that other say it’s less then that). Read the rest of this entry

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