Screwcaps versus corks

screwcapScrewcaps make getting into a bottle of wine so easy that you wonder why some producers still stopper their products with small pieces of oak tree bark whose primary goal seems to be getting in the way of enjoying wine.

Corks work best when kept moist through contact with the wine - a horizontally stored bottle achieves this. But less than optimum bottle storage angles and temperatures, along with cheap chipboard-like corks made from waste cork crumbs stuck together, all allow the cork's integrity to fail before it's entirely removed from the bottle neck.

corkSo the too often sight of torn and crumbling corks greets us along with bits of cork floating in the glass and then getting between the teeth.

Plus there’s the issue of ‘corked’ wines. This is a nasty bacterial infection brought into the wine through improperly sterilised corks.

The wine industry admits that between one and twelve bottles in a hundred suffer from this complaint: if your bottle is infected it will taste and smell horrible, rather like damp cardboard.

So how can you avoid crumbly corks and ‘corked’ wines? Buy wines bottled with a screwcap that’s how.

oh dearBut these metal caps haven’t always had it all their own way. Until very recently they were known to suffer from poor adhesion to some bottle shapes and so it wasn’t uncommon to find spinning, rather than opening, caps as insufficient grip with the bottle’s screw thread stopped the collar seal from breaking.

All that seems to have been sorted along with its image: 85% of regular wine drinkers say they find screwcaps perfectly acceptable while 42% claim they actively like buying wine with a screwcap.

PG Screwcapped Wine Reviews

Asda RiojaKaradoc Station Australian Merlot 2012

£4.25 Asda (down from £5.98 until May 6)

Fruity aromas and tastes – expect plum and damson with touch of deepening blackcurrant. Very slurpable.

Asda Extra Special Beaujolais Villages 2012

£5.50 Asda (down from £6.50 until May 6)

Light cherry and choc flavours.

Duo des Mers French Sauvignon Viognier 2013

£6.50 The Wine Society

Cheese and pineapple on sticks with a dash of creamy gooseberry. Nice blend.

Morrisons Sicilian Vermentino 2012

£7.99 Morrisons

Excellent aperitif or lunch-time wine with its light grape and apple flavours. Match to quiche Lorraine and then pretend you’re sitting opposite Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.

Tawhiri New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2013

£9.99 Co-op

Gooseberry pie flavours but without any overtly mouth-puckering tendencies. Nice.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk