The Hogue Cellars announced the results of groundbreaking research conducted between 2005 and 2010 that confirmed Saranex-lined screwcaps, part of Dow Specialty Packaging & Films as the ideal closure for preserving and aging The Hogue Cellars wines.
Saranex liners comprise layered polyethylene which is slightly permeable to oxygen, meaning a desirable ratio of oxygen comes in contact with the wine to allow slow, steady development while maintaining freshness. These screwcap closures were proven to hold fruit flavors and aromas without significant reductive character compared to natural cork.
The study was conducted in two parts, the first focused on analyzing the impact of closure type on The Hogue Cellars 2004 Sauvignon (Fume) Blanc – an oxygen-sensitive white wine. The second section was dedicated to understanding the effects of screwcap closures on the long-term age-ability of a 2004 Hogue Merlot and 2003 Genesis Merlot.
In total, more than 3,200 samples were tasted over the five-year span and overall, the panel preferred closures that allowed slower oxygen ingress and therefore, held proper levels of free sulfur dioxide (a common preservative) in the bottle.
In summary, wines aged under Saranex-lined screwcaps tasted better and offered better results than aluminum or tin-lined screwcaps or synthetic closures, and eliminated any risk of TCA or taint that can occur using traditional cork means.
This is the second screwcap study conducted by The Hogue Cellars. The findings of the winery's first study released in 2004 compared natural cork, synthetic closures and screwcaps, and found that wines bottled under screwcap were cleanest and best retained fruit flavors. As a result of those findings, The Hogue Cellars moved 70% of its production under screwcap closures. As a result of this second study, The Hogue Cellars will move 100% of its production – which includes its premium-tier Genesis and Reserve wines – to screwcap closures with Saranex liners. By the 2009 vintage, all wines in The Hogue Cellars portfolio will be under this closure type.