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Screw Cap Chronicles

One of my astute readers corrected me when I wrote in the last issue that Bernard Ambroise was the first to use a screw cap in Burgundy. He wrote, “One small correction - Patrice Rion offered some 2002 and 2003 vintage wines with screw caps. Now the importer can choose before bottling which closure he wants. I don’t think Patrice was the first either.” To set the record straight, anyone know who the first was?

Aussie wine writer, Tyson Stelzer, writing in Wines & Vines, May, 2006 said: “I am confident that the rate at which mature characters develop in screwcapped wines is in fact absolutely no different than under traditional closures. This is evidenced by the fact that wines under screw cap age at a similar rate to those with the very best corks. For a wine under an average cork, however, oxidation effects give the impression of accelerated aging, which has led to the notion that wines mature more slowly under screw caps. Perhaps the absence of oxidized characters in screw capped wines has given the mistaken impression of slower aging?”

It may be old news to some, but it still brings a smile to my face. Bonny Doon’s irreverent winemaker, Randall Grahm, staged funerals for the cork in New York City and San Francisco in 2002. Go to www.deathof for full coverage and photos.

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