It may seem strange but a lot of mystery still surrounds the screw cap - also called Stelvin after the name of the producer who invented it - and many wine lovers don't know how to judge it. Here's everything you need to know.
Very widespread outside Italy, in the Bel Paese two out of three people still look at it with suspicion , convinced that this closure of the bottle is synonymous with low quality of the wine. However, the story is very different.
Here's everything you need to know about the screw cap in 12 questions and just as many simple answers.
1. Let's start from the beginning: how is the screw cap made?
Of a metal sheath (aluminium, usually), which wraps the final part of the bottle. Inside, the bottom is made of tin alloy and contains a totally inert gas (nitrogen) in minimal quantities: in this way it guarantees the protection of the wine from external agents, humidity, changes in temperature and pressure.
2. What are the advantages of the screw cap?
This closure, unlike cork, prevents the passage of oxygen , allowing all the organoleptic properties of the wine to be kept intact. The condition is that the wine is bottled healthy and the bottle preserved well. It should not be forgotten that, in the bottle, between the cork and the wine there is still a quantity of oxygen.
Furthermore, the screw cap prevents the onset of cork odor (provided that this mold is not already present in the barrels). It therefore contrasts with the variability of the wine-cork interaction, which can be risky.
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3. But is it 100% true that oxygen does not pass through the screw cap?
No : the most modern and innovative screw caps can be chosen to be more or less airtight: today, the manufacturer can decide how much oxygen he wants to let pass through the cap.
4. Outside Italy who adopts the screw cap?
If we exclude Italy, the choice between cork and screw cap basically ends 1-1. Much loved in America and Asia, foreign markets demand it and a growing number of producers (yes: even French) are adopting this closure even on their top labels.
5. Two names of winemakers who have bet on screw caps?
Among others, Matilde Poggi , owner of the Le Fraghe winery, in Cavaion Veronese, should certainly be remembered. and Walter Massa , on the Tortonesi Hills, who have adopted the screw cap for their wines since ancient times. We are talking about two giants of Italian wine.
6. Which wines like screw cap closures best?
7. So every wine has its own cork?
In some cases the cork stopper - with its permeability characteristics - is fundamental. Wines that require a lot of evolution to express their full potential will do so more easily – and faster – with cork stoppers.
8. What to expect in screw-corked wines?
Basic: more marked freshness , well-defined aromas , fragrance .
9. Can we go further in the analysis?
Always. It is not accurate to say that in the absence of oxygen the wine does not evolve, in reality it changes indeed, but in a different and slower way, due to oxidation-reduction phenomena. But the effects of oxidation are much more evident in the short term than the reductive ones. So the more we leave the air passage free, the faster matter will evolve.
And, on the contrary, if we want to preserve our wine for as long as possible in a state that we consider perfect, we must limit the exchange of air as much as possible. If we want to preserve it as it was bottled, preventing the passage of air is in fact a "must": in this way, we will have increased its ability to age.
10. Is there any need to worry about reductive phenomena in the screw cap?
No. If the wine is a good wine, evolution in an anaerobic environment will not ruin it. If it does, it means that it was a simple bottle from the start, one of those that aren't kept in the cellar for long anyway.
11. What are the most common resistances among consumers to the screw cap?
To many it seems above all to betray a tradition, also because the opening of the cork is linked to a very poetic rite, an almost sacred ceremony.
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12. So, what to do about bottle caps?
First of all, learn to open bottles with cork stoppers correctly and then look without preconceptions at the novelty of the screw closure: after all, the real poetry is inside the bottle !