November 13, 2007
Quixotic We Are. Twisted We're Not.
By Lew Price, Quixote Winery
We specialize in petite syrah in the heart of cabernet country and yes, we bottle our entire production under twist-off caps.
Now, it turns out our belief that the screw-cap is the best closure for our fine wine is not at all twisted. We have company, a growing legion who have discovered as we did that a twist-off closure is the finest seal for quality wines.
Maison Jean-Claude Boisset, one of Burgundy’s largest wine merchants, bottled half its 2005 Chambertin with twist-off caps. That’s a $200 grand cru now cork free. Boisset decided to make the move after comparing 30-year-old wines sealed with corks against the same wines sealed under twist-off caps and deciding the capped wines offered more consistent quality and better fruit and freshness retention. “The future of great wines is with screw caps,’’ Boisset winemaker Gregory Patriat told Wine Spectator.
And that’s not all. Wine Spectator columnist, Matt Kramer, wrote in the magazine’s Oct. 31 issue of the results of a study conducted at a Bordeaux university that again confirmed that wines bottled under a twist-off cap generally emerge fresher and fruitier with more precise flavor definition. The study also suggested that the argument that screw-caps retard the aging process may lack merit, proving that there is oxygen ingress with the metal cap. “Screw caps sealed in more oxygen during bottling than did other closures because oxygen remained underneath the screw cap when it was attached to the bottle,” Kramer wrote. “Researchers found that when in place, screw caps allowed the ingress of consistent low amounts of oxygen.’’
More support followed Nov.6 when Wine Spectator’s Jim Laube, in an online blog, revealed that tasters at the magazine tasted 3,600 wines in 2007 and found 325 bottles flawed by bad corks, a failure rate of about 9 percent.
“I know cork producers insist they are cleaning up their acts,”Laube wrote. “But our results, all from blind tastings, suggest the problem is as serious as ever and maybe worse. At 9 percent, you’re close to having one bad bottle per 12-bottle case spoiled and that’s absurd. If you add in the 193 wines we tasted out of twist-offs, it raises the percentage of bad bottles even higher, to 9.5 percent.
“I blame wine producers as much as cork makers for this problem, since they are the ones that choose what to seal their wines and the failure rate of corks is pathetic. We keep hearing the same old refrain about corks that progress is being made. But if a 9-percent failure rate is considered progress, I wonder what percentage cork makers would consider a disaster?”
The bottom line, the evidence says, is that wines under screw cap age exceptionally.
But those are researchers speaking. Don’t take their word for it. Form your own opinion. Compare our 2002 Quixote Petite Syrah, of which there remain only a few dozen cases, against the newly released 2004 and see for yourself.
To order both wines. click here: www.quixotewinery.com or call us at 707-944-2659.