Does the closure really matter…?

Well, yes and it is a never-ending debate within our industry. Of course, there is evidence to support pros and cons for both closures, however and at the end of the day, it simply comes down to each producer’s preference regarding which closure best suits their wine. Many Australian wineries have been experimenting with different closures over the decades. Kay Brothers were one of the first producers to introduce stelvin (screwcap). All entry-level wines and their flagship Block 6 take advantage of screwcap technology and successfully since the early 2000’s.

We are huge fans of screwcap closures and as a rule, would recommend wines with a cellaring window of two decades should all be sealed by this method – Less TCA and bottle variation issues in our humble opinion. This week, we thought it would interesting to inspect the exact same wines development under both closures.  

The Wine Choice: Gibson, Barossa, Australia

Bob Gibson’s talent and a lifetime experience gained at Penfolds (his career spanned for over 22 years with many spent working on the Grange programme) makes for some of the very best wines we have listed from Australia at a sensible price level. Given the maturity and price point we concluded that Bob’s 2003 Barossa Vale Shiraz would be a perfect test candidate.

 

2003 Barossa Vale Shiraz: Closed Under Cork

Saddle leather, anise, roasted coffee notes on the nose with game / salami on the palate. Classy and reminiscent of Penfold’s Baby Grange, Bin 389 – Clearly a tell-tale to Bob’s previous employment. Sweet, svelte tannins wrap around your palate creating an incredibly seamless experience. Evolved, mature and now drinking at it’s peak (if you enjoy secondary characteristics).

£14.95 per bottle

 

2003 Barossa Vale Shiraz: Closed Under Stelvin

Much fresher on the nose with primary fruit more prominent than the wine closed under cork. Layer upon layer of fruit builds up on the palate in a complex, yet balanced structure. Black raspberry and blackberry are in abundance, both kept in check by lively acidity. There is an invigorating note of herbs (sage in particular), a touch of kirsch, which adds to the wines overall complexity. Long and persistent finish.

£14.95 per bottle

 

Team Vinorium’s Preference

The team was split between the two closures. Four opted for the wine bottled under stelvin, whilst Stu and I preferred the cork closure. No one is right or wrong – Simply a matter of preference, as is the closure. However, the wine under stelvin has a future and a bright one too whereas, the wine bottled under cork is nearing the end of it’s life (save 1-2 years).

Conclusion

Both wines offer different characteristics and its clearly evident that bottle closure has significant impact on the development of a wines life. The wine under cork has reached full maturity, perhaps a little too old for some with warm, brick-brown hues and a wine full of secondary characteristics. Leather, gamey / meaty notes.  The wine closed under screwcap could not have been more different. Some age is obvious but primary fruit in abundance. The colour being deeper / dark purples and a brighter tone. The acidity being more pronounced with a touch of warmth from the Barossa alcohol.