Monday, June 30, 2014

Wine with screw cap, no cork

I am a minimalist but also a traditionalist. Until a little while ago I did not pay any attention to wine in bottles with a screw-top cap. They are normally associated with cheap, poor quality wines. However, I am changing my policy, or, maybe I should say, my stereotype about these wines. Some of them are quite good  these days, and there is that convenience factor -- no corkscrew is required to get into the bottle. It may also be good for those who suffer stiffness and hand pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis (my right hand is getting it). And then there is the time and expense of teaching new service staff how to use a waiter’s corkscrew to open a bottle. I have to give my staff a lot of practice opening "sacrificial" wines, and that costs $$ (my boss is not happy!). Unfortunately, some people never can get the hang of it (or maybe they just want to drink a lot of wine).

Anyway, more and more wines are coming in screw-cap bottles these days. I recently visited my favorite neighborhood wine shop, K&L Wines, and was surprised to see many screw-cap wines available in the mid-price range/quality (around $20-$30 a bottle); some of them are even more expensive ($40-$50). I noticed that many are from Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon and Washington, and it is gradually becoming more common among California wines as well.

I still do not see many from France or Italy. However, I definitely prefer screw-cap wine to those with plastic or synthetic corks, which are quite often very hard to remove from the bottle and also hard to take out from the corkscrew. Bravo screw cap!