While many New World wineries have embraced the screwcap (most New Zealand and Australian wines are screwcap and many U.S. wines are too), the French winemakers have been slow to adopt them. The Telegraph reports that may be about to change. According to one wine expert both Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy and Bordeaux’s Chateau Margaux are thinking of going screwcap.
This is huge news since these are two very recognizable and lauded brands. The director general of Chateau Margaux, Paul Pontallier says they have been doing tests for a few years but are not certain if they will use the screwcaps because their wines are meant to be stored for long periods, there is some debate over whether or not screwcaps are optimal for wines that are best aged.
One of Burgundy’s best-known producers, Jean-Claude Boisset is using them on approximately a third of their wines including the Chambertin grand cru 2005, which sells for almost £100 a bottle. They feel that the screwcap is great for wines that will be aged because they protect the wine from oxidation better than a cork can. The Larouche wine group in Burgundy has also started using screw tops on its highest end wine, the Réserve de l’Obédiance, but still prefers the cork for red wines that will be aged.
The emperor of wine has also weighed in. Wine critic Robert Parker says wines bottled with corks will be in the minority by 2015 and that only wines meant to sit in cellar for decades will be topped by a cork. While the cork will always have romantic appeal, the realities of the wine business and the growing customer acceptance of screwcaps seem to have sealed its fate.