André Lurton, the first Bordeaux winemaker to put classified whites under screwcap in 2004, has called time on the experiment after French wine trade buyers proved reluctant to abandon cork.

Chateau Louviere. Image credit: Andre Lurton

Vincent Cruège, oenology director of the estates, confirmed to Decanter.com that the group will continue to bottle the AOC Bordeaux Chateau Bonnet dry white and rosé under screwcap, but will now switch to cork for Chateaux Rochemorin, Cruzeau, Couhins-Lurton and La Louvière.

‘The French market is ready to accept screwcaps for early-drinking wines,’ Creuzet said, ‘but not fine wines for ageing. Technically, we still believe in screwcaps, they are certainly effective for keeping the aromatics of a wine intact as it ages, and we have had success educating consumers, but the professional buyers in France are highly resistant.’

Cruège said the group would switch to a denser, slightly wider cork from Sardinia that offered the same tight seal benefits as a screwcap. Chateau Rochemorin will use a DIAM composite cork but the other Pessac Léognan whites will use the Sardinian cork.

‘It is not simply the closure that makes the difference,’ Axel Marchal, oenology professor at the university of Bordeaux said. ‘Vineyard work, vinification and other elements impact the ageing ability and aromatic impact of a white wine. But our research has shown the screwcap closure to be one of the effective tools.’