What I’m Drinking Now: Screw Cap Wine

There is a debate among wine lovers about the use of screw caps vs. corks on a wine bottle.  I can agree that there isn’t the same satisfaction of opening a screw cap bottle that pulling the cork gives. But, being someone who does wine events which go through large quantities of wine, I have seen a number of great bottles ruined to cork taint. 

Though there are many opinions, I think if the wine is meant to be drunk young and not aged for many years a screw cap is fine, and I have tried a few lately that were enjoyable.  Some of these selections were sent for editorial consideration.

Adelsheim Pinot Blanc is an approachable wine filled with crisp green apple, orange blossom, honey and spice, with good minerality from the basaltic soil in the Willamette Valley.  Some Pinot Blancs are so light that they can lack flavor. This is not.  It is more like a classic Alsatian style (as the root stock Adelsheim used to create their Pinot Blanc came from Alsace) with great balance, acidity and clean flavors.   

Chasing Venus is a solid representation of what you would expect from a classic Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Very crisp with strong citrus fruit aromas of lemon, grapefruit and oranges followed by flavors of green herbs, grapefruit and kiwi.  Named after the story of Captain Cook who set out in 1769 to study the passage of Venus across the disc of the sun, and eventually was the first European to explore New Zealand.

Master Sommelier Richard Betts has decided to get into the wine business, instead of just drinking it, with a goal to create two wines from true California grape icons.  Betts’ motto of “wine as a grocery, not a luxury” he set out to make a solid table wine that can be enjoyed everyday, with a price point that matches.  With that comes the introduction of cc:Chardonnay, retailing for around $14) and cc:Cabernet (retailing for around $19.)  I tried the 2009 cc:Chardonnay from Monterey County fruit in California and produced in stainless steel to allow the true flavor of the fruit to come out.  With stone fruit and mineral rich flavors it is a clean, refreshing Chardonnay.

2008 Pali Summit Pinot Noirblends grapes from two distinct areas of California, Monterey County with lime-stone rich soil creating  juicy ripe fruit with good minerality, and Santa Barbara County creating dark, lush, berry filled fruit.  Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak the wine is filled with blackberry, raspberry and plum with hints of nutmeg, pepper and caramel. 

Susana Balbo is a wine-making star in Argentina, and around the world as she was the first Argentine wine maker to make wine outside of Argentina.  Her Crios line includes classic Argentine varietals which are well made, and reasonably priced, including Torrontes with its floral aromas and citrus flavors; Malbec with its black cherry and berry flavors; and earthy, intense Bonarda, one of the most widely used grapes in Argentina.  The Crios Syrah-Bonarda blend brings the earthy, blackberry Bonarda together with smoky, spicy Syrah, creating a bold, expressive wine retailing for about $15 a bottle.
Susana Balbo with Chef Andrew Ormsby

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