Thursday, June 30, 2011

Screwcap Cork Tasting

Finally, after years of toting around wines of the same vintage with cork and screwcap finishes, I opened a couple.  The 2006 Castano Monsatrell used a plastic faux cork style closure before moving to screwcaps.  They were purchased at the same time - within a week - direct from the distributor.  The screwcap emerged mid-release and I do not know the treatment previous to release.  Was it in tank?  Bottled and then released?  At any rate, the tasting amazed me.  
Remember that the grape is monastrell, Spanish for mourvedre, and the variety can be a bit funky and non-traditional anyway.  
I found the experiment surprising.  
The screwcap was bright, juicy and displayed some leather aromas with a spritz on the palate I associate with newly released, yet-to-settle wines.  It was obviously fresh and tasted young.  It was very bright and acidic.  
For all of my ranting about the fake, plastic corks I found this to be the superior bottling.  The nose offered deeper and rounder fruits and the palate was softer and more enjoyable.  Acid appeared but did not dominate as it did in the screwcap bottle.  Darker, more purple fruit with leather underneath made for better balance and made this wine more subtle than the first.  It showed completeness and maturity the screwcap did not.  Although the final impression involved some of the prickly feel of the first it was all better integrated and a much more enjoyable wine.  
Tasting the bottles for three days showed no appreciable changes other than the normal degradation of wine.  The screwcap remained intense and unpleasant while the faux cork version was the only one I wanted in my glass.  
The screwcap seemed to have frozen the bottle in time.  Castano's wines need some time to breathe and evolve and only one bottling got that option.
I am looking forward to the next round of experimentation.  I will be putting together a full tasting this fall, if not earlier to explore further.  I promise to keep updating right here.  

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