It is not the first time someone has done this experiment, but tasting the results for myself, blind, are different to reading someone else’s opinion.
The other day CJ asked me to come and taste two wines, blind. I didn’t know what the wines were (it was pretty obvious they were pinot noir, but was I looking at finished wines? Samples? Nautilus or Opawa? ours vs someone elses?) and so had no preconceptions.
The wine on the smelled beautiful – aromatic, with a pleasant mix of berry and spicy notes, and was nicely structured on the palate with good concentration and nice but slightly angular tannins. The wine on the right tasted pretty similar – the only difference I could perceive was a slightly juicier, fresher palate structure with the acidity better balancing the tannin structure. The wine on the left tasted nicely complex when I first tasted it, but when I returned to it after tasting the right-hand wine, it tasted a little tired.
Then CJ revealed the difference – these were two 2003 Nautilus Pinot Noirs. The wine on the left bottled under cork and the wine on the right bottled under screwcap.
It turns out my observations on the two wines were the same as CJ, Brett and Mike had already made. CJ knew what we were looking at but the rest of us tasted completely blind.
We were all pretty surprised - in hindsight I would have expected there to be more difference in the aromas of the two wines, and for the tannins to be more integrated under cork.
While this is clearly not a particularly scientific trial, we were all pretty impressed – and relieved! All Nautilus Pinot Noir in 750ml bottles has been bottled under screwcap since 2005 and we have just bottled our first magnums under screwcap this year.