Last night I bought a bottle of Caymus Conundrum for a hostess gift. It didn't really occur to me until later that perhaps the new trend toward screw tops (and artificial corks) is not widely known.
What do you think? Would you give this gift to a person who, while of reasonable sophistication, is not a wine geek, and probably doesn't spend a lot of time reading food mags or chowhound?
I'd give it without hesitation, unless I knew that the recipient has a specific bias against screwtops. More and more high-end wines are using stelvin closures (screwtop) all the time. One of the best Oregon Pinots I've had is Argyle's Nuthouse. It sells for almost $50 and has a screwtop.
If you're not intending to age the bottle for many years, the closure is really irrelevant. I do appreciate the history, and aesthetic factors associated with corks, but screwtops are cheaper in the long-run and are hopefully eliminating cork taint (TCA) as a spoilage factor in wine. If you want something really unique, though, look for glass corks, which are now starting to be used as well. Very classy (if expensive) alternative, though I think the jury's still out on how effective they are in maintaining wine quality.
I just did this the other night. Because I visited Australia earlier this year and my friend the hostess, has too, when handing over the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I just said, "you know, they don't fear the screw top in that part of the world" and we both gave a little giggle.
I did think twice when I bought it though.