This is probably one of the most discussed topics of the last decade in terms of wine. Which one is better? Are Screw Caps a sign of poor quality?
My question would be, what do you want to accomplish by using a stopper in a bottle? If you answer this question, you answer any kind of question regarding stoppers.
Maybe you are familiar with “Tannins”. If you are not, here is a brief explanation.
Tannins are chemical molecules spread in almost every fruit or edible plant. Among many properties (coagulating saliva is one of them; ergo a dry mouth), they are antioxidants, which means they can protect wines from an early oxidation. Grapes have a strong concentration of tannins of course, but this is not enough.
Oak (and this is why we use oak and no other kinds of wood) contains a great deal of tannins as well, much more than grapes.
Now think about a young wine. Are you getting thirsty? Wait a minute and pay attention.
Young wines are not having any contact with oak, and because of this, they have a short life ahead (no a lot of antioxidants implies a short life). For this kind of wines, a Screw Top is a very good thing. It prevents wine from getting too much in contact with oxygen, extending its life and preserving it almost exactly the same.
On the other hand, if you have a wine that is been in contact with oak for a long time, then that wine contains an enormous deal of tannins, and therefore, it can live a longer life. In fact, if you taste a wine right after being in an oak barrel for a long time, it will probably taste like a very unusual and very concentrated tea.
Natural corks aloud oxygen to be in contact with the wine in almost a non-stop way. Through this process (micro oxygenation), wine changes, develops new kinds of aromas and tastes, losses some color and fruit, and gets what they call Bouquet (new aromas develop within the bottle).
Acidity is another really strong point when it comes to ageing wines.
So if you found a Screw Top wine, you are probably looking at a wine meant to be drink in a short period (3 years max). Natural corks goes for wines that are prepared to hold longer. Of course, marketing and operative cost play their roll as well, but let’s leave that for another time.
After all of this talking, I think I’ll open a bottle and relax a little.