The debate as to whether traditional corks or screw caps produce a better bottle of wine -- a controversial one that has divided the wine community -- is about to take a scientific turn.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis will test the effects of various types of enclosures on 600 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc wine, including natural cork, screw caps and synthetic cork. We won't know how each measures up until the summer of 2013, when chemical analysis will be conducted on the wines' changes in color, taste, aroma and oxidation.
Wine chemist Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, explained the study's significance on UC Davis' web site:
“All wine closures are made with sustainable practices, and to date I have not seen data showing a definitive difference between them,” he said. “It’s important for wine consumers to remember that the bottle closure is a very small part of the wine package’s environmental footprint."
The cork versus screw top fight has in recent years struck a chord with oenophiles, many of them purists who dislike non-traditional enclosures. A 2002 article from ABC illustrates just how strongly some people reacted at the time, when screw tops were just beginning to gain favor:
At a recent tasting of luxury boutique wines on the Hawaiian island of Maui, John Conover, general manager of the PlumpJack Vineyard of Oakville, Calif., stood accused.
"A lady in the audience stood up and said, 'You're the one. … You're the one that bottles with screw caps,'" he recalls, noting his winery is proud to be experimenting with the closures.
"She said, 'You're taking the mystique out of wine.'"
Despite the push back, screw tops are gaining popularity as a cork alternative. Many proponents say its less susceptive to the effects of oxidation, are easier to open and eliminate the risk of cork taint.
Also on HuffPost:
No it is not a hip-hop group, it’s the single most sought after domain in all of <a href="http://www.snooth.com/region/france/burgundy/" target="_hplink">Burgundy</a>, and all of the world for that matter. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/domaine-de-la-romanee-conti-vosne-romanee/" target="_hplink">The Domaine de la Romanee Conti</a> has long produced some of the finest Grand Cru Burgundy, but lately its wines have reached dizzyingly high prices. These are wines that require a bit of age on them to show their full potential. You can get a glimpse of that after just a handful of years in lesser vintages, but it’s still going to cost you. How much? Consider the following prices for DRC’s low, medium and high priced bottlings in a good vintage, a great vintage and a mature vintage! <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/drc-echezeaux-2003/" target="_hplink">DRC Echezeaux</a>: 2004 - $700 2009 - $900 1990 - $1,200 <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/drc-la-tache-2004/" target="_hplink">DRC La Tache</a>: 2004 - $1,700 2009 - $3,200 1990 - $6,000 <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/drc-romanee-conti-2006-2006/" target="_hplink">DRC Romanee Conti</a>: 2004 - $11,000 2009 - $14,000 1990 - $18,000 You wanted bucket list wines, now you got them! Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ballerballer/1469820932/" target="_hplink">Norman27</a> via Flickr/cc
Burgundy is the reigning champ of bucket list wines, but <a href="http://www.snooth.com/regions/france/bordeaux/" target="_hplink">Bordeaux</a> is not far behind. Many people might think of Petrus as the ultimate Bordeaux bucket list entry, but the minuscule quantities of <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/chateau-le-pin/" target="_hplink">Le Pin</a> make it both harder to find and more expensive, two qualifications that make it ideally suited for this list. Once again, prices for an average vintage, a great vintage and a mature vintage leave us all feeling a little poorer than we might actually be. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/2001-le-pin-pomerol-whole-cases-2001/" target="_hplink">Le Pin Pomerol</a>: 2001 - $2,300 2010 - $2,500 1990 - $4,500 Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/megs_pics/6261847979/" target="_hplink">Megan Mallen</a> via Flickr/cc
Krug Clos d' Ambonnay
Staying in France for just a moment, let’s take a look at the ultimate luxury wine: <a href="http://www.snooth.com/region/france/champagne/" target="_hplink">Champagne</a>. Why would I characterize Champagne like this? For the most part, Champagne is a blend designed for consistency and thus it tends not to express terroir or vintage character, two traits that are essential for truly great wine. On the other hand, single vineyard vintage Champagne does show both, but you’ll need to pony up the Benjamins if you want to add this wine to your bucket list. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/krug/" target="_hplink">Krug</a> is one of the greatest Champagne houses, Clos d’Ambonnay one of the greatest vineyards. Put them together and we’re talking mortgage payment folks. There have only been three vintages made of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay. At this price, how can you blame the folks at Krug? A tight supply is the best way to maintain a floor on pricing, and that is one hand-rubbed, old growth forest Mahogany floor if I’ve ever seen one. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/krug-clos-dambonnay-1995-1/" target="_hplink">Krug Clos d’Ambonnay</a>: 1995 - $3,500 1996 - $2,200 1998 - $1,800 Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/grazzc/" target="_hplink">grazzc</a> via Flickr/cc
Vega Sicilia Unico
I now turn to <a href="http://www.snooth.com/region/spain/" target="_hplink">Spain</a>, if only because I’ve already mentioned several Italian wines in a previous bucket list email. Spain is a great source of value wines, though over the past several years, its top end wines have begun to receive much more attention from wine lovers and bucket list makers. For the most part, this is a new development. One Spanish wine, <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/bodegas-vega-sicilia-spain/" target="_hplink">Vega Sicilia</a>, has long been recognized as one the nation’s top wines. Perhaps there are more contenders for that title today, but if you go back a few vintages you’ll find that Vega Sicilia was once the undisputed star of the Spanish wine scene. While Vega Sicilia doesn’t quite reach the heights of the truly ridiculously priced wines today, it’s a candidate to make it there someday soon. Vega Sicilia is a late release wine, so I’m listing the current release 2002, a modestly mature 1990 and the monumental 1968. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/1989-vega-sicilia-unico-riserva-1989-1/" target="_hplink">Vega Sicilia Unico</a>: 2002 - $380 1990 - $350 1968 - $1,200 Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/escueladecatas/5686010859/" target="_hplink">Escuela de Catas</a> via Flickr/cc
Bruno Giacosa Collina Rionda Barolo Riserva
Unlike the previous wines on this list, <a href="http://www.snooth.com/winery/bruno-giacosa-neive/" target="_hplink">Bruno Giacosa Barolo Collina Rionda Riserva</a> is no longer produced. For a high roller bucket list, that’s just another reason to make the cut. Simply put, this is one of the best wines ever produced anywhere. The 1989 can be a simply profound wine that every wine lover should try at least once in his or her life, but you better hurry. Only a few bottles were ever produced and most of them have probably been consumed already. You can get a taste of the greatness of Collina Rionda in the hands of Giacosa by checking out the non-reserve 1993 bottling, but to get the full experience you’re going to have to dig deep for one of the heavyweight greats. <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/bruno-giacosa-barolo-collina-rionda-riserva-1993/" target="_hplink">Bruno Giacosa Collina Rionda Barolo</a>: 1993 - $250 <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/bruno-giacosa-barolo-collina-rionda-riserva-pre-arrival-1990/" target="_hplink">Bruno Giacosa Collina Rionda Barolo Riserva</a>: 1990 - $900 1989 - $1,500 1978 - $1,500 Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ballerballer/3159634888/" target="_hplink">Norman27</a> via Flickr/cc
Want To Learn More?
Interested in seeing GDP's second French wine bucket list? <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/bucket-list-wines-france-part-ii/" target="_hplink">Click here and see if any of these make your list too</a>! Read more wine news and reviews at <a href="http://www.snooth.com/" target="_hplink">Snooth.com</a>. You might also like:</em> - <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/a-guide-to-sour-beer-for-wine-lovers/" target="_hplink">Sour Beers for Wine Lovers</a> - <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/pairing-rose/" target="_hplink">Pairing Rosé</a> - <a href="http://www.snooth.com/articles/red-wines-for-summer/" target="_hplink">Red Wines for Summer</a>