To Screw or Not to Screw

In addition to my passion for food and all the taste sensations I try hard to create wi I enjoy pairing fine wines with my food.  Properly pairing wine with food creates an increased taste sensation, in your mouth, making your dining experience more pleasurable.   I am always looking for innovative ways to make the dining experience incredibly special, as enjoying a good meal is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures.

I have been perfecting wine lists since almost as long as I have been cooking and I am very proud of the way my wine list has evolved.  I try to spend as much time as I can in the dining room as I can as I enjoy the feedback and responses I get from our guests.  A question I am often asked when I start to talk about wines and food is why the screw caps on the wine bottles.  I had a lady refuse to try one of our most popular Pinot Noirs from Willamette Valley, Oregon called WillaKenzie; I also had another guest question the Arrabella Cabernet from South Africa, one of my favorite pours, they both have a screw cap.

So the question came to be, “To Screw or not to Screw?”  After doing quite a bit of research on the topic at hand, my goal is to shed some light on the hottest topic in the world of wine today, the Screw Cap versus the Cork.  According to Fred Dame the President of the Court of Master Sommeliers, the reason for the shift from cork to metal screw caps is that cork is becoming contaminated by a nasty little infection called 2.4.6-Trichloranisole (TCA).  The natural mold found in the cork reacts with chlorine and causes the wine to have a musty smell, dulling the flavor of the wine.  It’s all about taste.   TCA occurs during the sterilization process; as the quality of cork diminishes, and more and more good cork is hard to find, a significant number of wineries around the world are switching to metal screw caps.

With more wine being produced than ever before, in bottles, the wine producers of the world have to find alternatives to using cork; of course another alternative is the synthetic cork. Synthetic cork is already widely used, but as I have experienced when tending bar, they are difficult to remove from the bottle, and even more so, to get off the corkscrew.  Some tasters even complain of a ‘plastic taint’.

With more and more wines being consumed at record levels around the world, coupled with the shortage of quality cork we are sure to see more wineries bottling their wines with a screw cap.  We think our wines have a more casual side to them anyway as we compare the quality of the wines that make up our wine lists.  It is a matter of educating the public whose preconceived perception is that screw cap wines should be served in a brown bag, like when I was in college and a cheap date was a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 in the back seat of my Chrysler Newport.

Bon Appétit!    ~ Chef