• Choose wines with high flavour compounds (flavours, tannin, acid)
  • Store them in a temperature controlled space
  • Lie bottles with corks on their sides
  • Buy high quality wines sealed with screwcaps

Screwcaps. They may be a deeply unfashionable topic but 15 years on from their launch, screwcaps are providing a more effective closure for wine than cork, both for the short term and for those special bottles to cellar and open in the medium and long term.

A retrospective tasting of Marlborough Chardonnays in August this year was a dramatic demonstration of how fresh eight year old Chardonnay can taste from screw capped bottles.

The wines were from Nautilus in Marlborough and were tasted at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.

Chardonnay is often eclipsed by Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, which can be understandable since Sauvignon now makes up 85.6% of this country’s wine exports, while Chardonnay lurks in the other 14.4%. But still,  it is staggering to taste the high quality and youthful freshness of eight year  old New Zealand Chardonnays, such as these wines.

The first vintage of Chardonnay at Nautilus was 1989 and winemakers Brett and CJ are keen to demonstrate the consistency of their Chardonnays as a strong thread for this Sauvignon Blanc dominant winery (and wine region).

The top Nautilus Chardonnays tasted in August this year were, in my view, from 2009, 2014 and 2015. This trio showed higher acidity, which accentuated the freshness, balance and length of flavour in these wines.

This tasting was not primarily to highlight Chardonnay, screw caps or cellaring potential, but rather to introduce a new Sauvignon Blanc to the Nautilus range. But that’s another story. It’s also a story about a wine sealed with a screw cap, as over 90% of New Zealand’s wines are today.

More to come.