The Difference between Cork and Cap
Which is better: wine enclosed by a cork or a screw cap?
That’s what Mario Pablo Silva of Casa Silva wanted to find out when he put 200 bottles of his Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc last year under cork – where screw caps were the default.
The result was stunning though inconclusive, shattering belief that screw caps are ultimately better than corks. The screw-capped wine was smoky and linear, with a strong front that faded almost instantly. Meanwhile, the corked wine and its expressive aroma, was more easily identifiable and seemed the more popular choice of the two.
The difference between closure via cork and screw cap can be summed in one word: reduction. It is the development of sulphur compounds in wines under a lack of oxygen. While a hint of sulphur can enhance a chardonnay, excess dosage can pollute the liquor with a scent akin to burned rubber.
Wines under screw cap tend to be more reduced than those under corks, which is why screw caps are more frequently used in bottling new white wines.
For now however, whether superiority belongs to the cork or the screw cap remains to be seen.