Thursday, March 31, 2011

The screwcap revolution 10 (or 11) years on

BEFORE Facebook, it took time for one revolution to inspire another. Take screwcaps. Invented in 1889, in Barnsley, they didn’t shake up the wine world for another 111 years. Screwcaps promised to rid wine of Trichloroanisole (TCA), the chemical in tainted corks making wine smell ‘corked’. But the cork industry cleaned up its act. Cork ‘failure’ is now 2-5% (i.e. better than typical condom use). TCA’s rarity made Spotting a Corked Wine the wine aficionado’s party trick. Wine critics say the 'screwcap palate' is bitter, coarse and astringent with blunt fruit and an abrupt, harshly dry finish. Spotting a Screwcapped Wine is their new party trick.

First published in The Connexion (April 2011)