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Thursday, October 22, 2015


(Michael Green)

Most South African wine-drinkers, I think, welcomed the bottle-stopper revolution of recent years, the change from the traditional cork to screw top.

The modern screw cap makes an effective seal, and opening and closing the bottle is a much quicker and easier job. Cork is better for red wines that are going to be stored for several years of bottle maturation, but this is an unusual situation. These days most wines, red and white, are consumed very soon after purchase.

So the metal screw cap is no longer a sign of an inexpensive wine. In South Africa it is used for many of the best wines on the market. Nonetheless, traditionalists probably hanker a little after the old-fashioned cork.

The House of Krone, the name given to wines made at the 300-year-old Twee Jonge Gezellen estate at Tulbagh, has met this wish by introducing a screw-cork stopper for its latest product, the Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2015.

It is called the Helix Concept. Launched in Bordeaux two years ago, it is described as the world’s first twist-open-and-close cork enclosure for wine. It opens and closes with a simple twist of the wrist, thanks to a matching thread finish inside the neck of the bottle and on the cork itself.

The idea is to combine the image of cork with convenience of a screw cap. You have the classic ritual of cutting the foil and uncorking the bottle with a pop, and you can easily reseal the bottle.

The Helix (the word means spiral) is claimed to offer excellent preservation of taste, aroma and colour and to present no risk of cork taint, thanks to treatment of the cork during production.

And the wine itself? The Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir is a blended dry white with a fragrant bouquet and a well-rounded, balanced taste. The chardonnay contributes crispness and elegance and the pinot noir provides richness and red berry flavours.

The wine is described as an excellent partner for Mediterranean dishes, seafood, Thai curries, ham or veal.

It is available nationally and seems to be good value at a retail price of about R60 a bottle. – Michael Green