edited by Sue Courtney
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Murray Almond's "From the Left Island"
Performing Seals - Cork and Screwcap Head to Head
The major topic of contention in discussions about Screwcaps is in how the wine ages in comparison to cork particularly when there are so many other variables than the seal; storage conditions and light all play a factor. So when Richmond Grove recently released some of the 1998 Rieslings in both cork and screwcap, I grabbed some to perform a little trial of own with the 1998 Richmond Grove Barossa Riesling.
The trial was done with my regular tasting cohorts, TGD, NDN and Gail. I told them the theme was Whites; ABC (anything but Chardonnay) and they duly arrive, bottled in hand. We looked at my pair first, they didn't know the identity of the wines at all as the wines were served completely blind by being decanted into separate swing-top bottles and masked. I also didn't know which one was which as I'd marked the bottom of one and then asked my wife to put them both in bags. In order to eliminate as much variation as possible they came out of the cellar and into the fridge at the same time, then out of the fridge and decanted at the same time prior to serving. The wines were poured into Tasting Glasses side by side.
We looked at each wine separately, with my notes below, and then we discussed the wines,
1998 Richmond Grove Barossa Riesling - in Stelvin screwcap
1998 Richmond Grove Barossa Riesling - in cork
Head to Head
Given that, the other tasters were not particularly surprised that these were both 1998 wines, but actually thought they were from different regions. Although having said that Gail thought the screwcap, while having a paler colour, had the greater complexity of an older wine.
All agreed that the wine in screwcaps was better than the wine in cork, although that would be the case with this mildly tainted bottle opened next to a bottle with an untainted cork as well.
So we can't draw any substantial head to head conclusions from this trial, but we can say that the 1998 Richmond Grove Barossa Riesling in Stelvin is already showing some nice development with three years in bottle and gives every indication of being a long-lived wine.
I have a couple more matching pairs to compare in future years.
Following that we look at the other wines, which presented a wonderful variety of white styles.
1999 Blanck Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France
1998 Grey Sands Pinot Gris, Glengarry, Tasmania
Grey Sands winery is one that has slipped under the radar. Gail was referred it by Dr Bailey Carrodus of Yarra Yering who had uncovered it a few years ago. If the other Grey Sands wines are a match to this it's a winery well worth watching.
And so to TGD's wine.
1994 Mount Mary Triolet Yarra Valley, Victoria
A great night's tasting, only marred by the unfortunate performance of the Richmond Grove under cork. However there will be other times, other tastings.
© Murray Almond
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