• Does wine glow in the dark?

    No, at least not unless the vintner adds some zinc sulfide and stronium aluminate, two elements commonly used in chemiluminescence.



    Phew, I just had to get that out of the way.

    Now for something completely different.

    To screw cap or not to screw cap. It’s been many years since some wine bottles started appearing with screw caps.



    The reason this phenomena began was in part due to a shortage of corks. With such a large quantity of wine being made this pushed the price for corks through the roof. Then you’ve gotta factor in the nearly ten percent of wine that had the ‘cork taint’ problem (TCA – 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole) which I’m sure you are familiar with at this point. The expenses incurred as a result were exorbitant, and for what?

    Just to have this nostalgic type of closure.

    Wine makers having grown tired of paying the piper and dealing with unhappy customers, whose wine smelled like moldy wet newspaper, decided to try a different route. Some used reconstituted cork, but this caused wine to come in contact with the glue that held this cork together. Another option came about, that of the rubber cork. Horrible idea… Any wine aged for more than a few months with it started adopting a lovely aroma of freshly made tupperware.

    Now I like some of those more industrial smells. A touch of barnyard on that old French Bordeaux. A little bit of petrol wafting up from the German Riesling you just opened. Dust on that Burgundy. A spattering of tar, a hint of steel, a dollop of brick, these all add complexity and even help you identify where the wine came from.

    Rubber on the other hand is repellent in every way. I mean really who wants eau du stinky plastic?

    It took a while to get ‘most’ rubber corkers to stop using them, but that left the screw cap closure.

    Insert funny anecdote here: I was the general  manager of a restaurant many years ago and we had in our employ a somewhat vacuous server. She was waiting on a table and left mid-bottle service. She walked over to me with a perplexed look on her face.

    ‘I can’t get the foil off this bottle,’ she said.

    I took one look at the bottle and noticed she had used the foil knife to completely shred a screw cap.

    She must’ve tried thirty times to cut through the cap. She was unsuccessful and so I gave the top a small twist and off it came.

    Sheepishly she went back to the table and served the wine.


    It took me a while, as seems to be the case with most changes, to accept the cap as an alternate means of keeping wine safe from the elements.

    Today I rave about it.

    There have been numerous times when I was without a corkscrew and the screw capped wine saved the day.

    Side note: If you’re in a bind (with a cork enclosed wine) you can always push the cork into the bottle straight up ghetto style.



    The cap prevents the wine from being corked and won’t ever dry out like corks can do (another way you can ruin your wine.)

    So if you want as good of a guarantee as you can get that the wine will be in its original state (which could be bad if the wine is crap to begin with.)

    Oh I still love my old school cork for wines that I’m gonna age. There is a rumor that the cork allows a minute amount of air to reach the wine giving it an aging boost, but I just like the romance of opening that special wine with a corkscrew.


    One of these fabulous screw cap wines is:

    Kim Crawford 2011 Sauvignon Blanc



    Their tasting notes:

    Bright, light green.
    Citrus and tropical fruits backed by characteristic herbaceous notes that Marlborough
    Sauvignon Blanc is renowned for.
    An exuberant wine brimming with flavours of pineapple, passionfruit, stonefruit and a hint of
    herbaceousness. The finish is fresh, zesty and lingering.
    Ready for immediate enjoyment, this wine will continue to develop over 3-4 years.
    Food pairing
    Good to drink with anyone at anytime. Ideally suited to fresh oysters, asparagus dishes, lobster
    or summer salads.


    Another wine under $20 is:

    Domaine Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Gruner Veltliner 2011

    winemaker’s notes:

    Bright straw yellow, offering enticing aromas of white pepper and gooseberry and hints of ripe yellow apple. Medium bodied with a crisp acidity, very balanced and spicy in the finish. A typical Grüner Veltliner at Federspiel level, subtle and very racy.