Screw Top Wines in France? Oui, Oui!

We had a date to go canoeing today but I inquired about getting my own solo vessel instead. To me a kayak on a small river is better than trying to manage a two-person canoe. Plus, it allowed me to go ahead and enjoy the silence of the narrow Citron river and the sounds of the birds and nothing else. I was totally there, totally in that moment, and was conscious of being there, only there….as I drifted down that river and made my way silently around logs in the water.  After a while I heard a call, my name, coming from up river. Oops!  I had gone past the debarkation and was forced to paddle upstream 300 yards or so to get back to the group. Nice little work-out.

Our travels took us to the tasting room of Domaine de Carbonnieu, where they specialize in Sauternes wine. It’s a cloyingly sweet wine that tastes good, I guess, with oysters or after a dinner in a tiny glass, but tasting a bunch of these is, well, not my thing. Later we tried vinotherapy…which involves being slathered with a combination of grape essence, honey, sugar and other things that are good for the skin and then being wrapped up. It was relaxing and somewhat peculiar, but the setting was Les Sources de Caudalie, a hotel/spa/vineyard surrounded by rows and rows of growing grapes.

At a large winery, we learned about the company’s enthusiasm for screw top bottles, and they let us taste an inexpensive white that’s offered in both screw top and cork versions. The screw top was a bit lighter in color, (the same wine) and the nose was not nearly as fragrant as the corked version. Yet again and again, the wine experts say that screw tops don’t allow for any oxidation and that they are a much better way to seal the bottle.

It’s an easier sell in the US than in most countries of Europe, we were told. Canada, too, doesn’t like the screws. I know that in Australia, even the best wines can come with screw tops, they pretty much accept it. Katrina at the winery told us that cork quality has been diminishing and that soon, many more of their wines will be screw top.  Progress, I guess.