Once the laughing stock of the wine community, screw cap offerings are in their best form to date. The easy-to-crack wine vessel has become the preferred modus operandi for a lot of great labels. Better still, these labels are taking it seriously, putting some delicious juice in this format.
We’re not just talking about white and pink wine here. Everything from Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir can find its way into this format. It’s all part of a contemporary wine realm that grows both increasingly more creative and accessible.
Perhaps it’s not at all shocking. After all, over the last decade-plus, we’ve seen wine embrace the can, reacquaint itself with the box, and even go the route of the keg. Wineries cautiously dipped their toes in the trend at first, using the screw cap to showcase its weakest cellar work. Now, you can find a whole spectrum of wines beneath the cap, with an increasing amount of mid-range and reserve-level options.
About the only thing a screw cap won’t do is age particularly well. Being airtight, these wines are recommended to be consumed within a year or two of purchase. Which isn’t really an issue here as you’ll be eager dig into them as soon as they arrive on your doorstep.
Here are seven of the best screw-cap wines out there, at the ready for your full enjoyment:
A genuine Burgundian Chardonnay at a reasonable price, this wine is wild-fermented and benefits from almost a year of aging on the lees. Fresh and round with flickers of key lime, poached pear, and flint, it’s got most of the qualities of a white Burgundy three times its price point.
Made from Barossa Valley fruit in Aussie wine country, this wine is wonderfully woodsy. Plum, blackberry, and spice round out a full palate that even shows some herbaceous tones. Cab tends to be and dark fruit driven but the resounding forest floor element of this wine makes it truly unique and worth your time.
A good Sauv Blanc should zap the taster with a persistent acidity and brightness of fruit flavors. This wine from New Zealand does just that, packing in a surprisingly lengthy finish to boot. Enjoy it as you eat through the rest of your tomato crop (bruschetta, anyone?).
If you’re a fan of crisp white wine you need to get to know Albariño. This one from esteemed southern Oregon winery Abacela is one of the best out there, a punchy, zesty number that’s great with all kinds of dishes. The wine is electric in the best sense of the term.
R. Stuart has long been a respected figure in the Willamette Valley wine scene and one of the first players to really embrace the screw cap. Pinot Noir is particularly challenging to make in a more entry-level format but this one is teeming with balance and layered flavors. Black cherry and fresh fennel notes bloom from this aromatic and easy-drinking wine.
This offering is the work of Riesling icon Peter Lauer. Made in the Mosel, it’s an off-dry number teeming with character. Quintessentially Riesling, it lures you in with a nose of light petrol and floral notes and keeps you going back for more with a palate of citrus, apple, brine, and a pleasant minerality.
Crafted from fruit grown in the gloriously named Casablanca Valley of Chile, this Chardonnay is truly one of a kind. Thanks to extended skin contact, careful aging, and plenty of exposure to the lees, the wine functions more like a red, with savory notes and even some lovely, oxidized nutty flavors (think sherry).
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