It’s been a while since I last opened a corked bottle of wine, and then there were two in two days. One was an Australian pinot noir from 2009, the other a Tuscan red from 2012, and it would be fair to say I was as disappointed in both instances.
Both wines were bought with the express intent to cellar and both were being opened years after purchase to see how they were progressing. Both had what appeared to be premium corks and other than being tainted looked in pristine physical condition. That both wines were only mildly corked made it even more disappointing, as on opening each bottle there was a hint of what would have been the intense fruit and fragrance of each wine.
When it comes to corked wines, there is always that instant where you hope the wine is in fact OK and you seek to apportion blame elsewhere – hayfever or sniffles interrupting your otherwise clear olfactory sensors, maybe it’s just a funky waft or some reductive characters which will blow off after allowing the wine to breathe? Ever hopeful, it usually doesn’t take long for confirmation, as once exposed the wine is either stripped completely of its fruit, or the cork taint intensity increases.
Unlucky to cop two in as many days, but then again maybe I was lucky as prior to this it was at least 12 moths since I opened a corked wine. Then again, the number of wines opened in the past 12 months that were sealed with a cork was a significant minority. Thankfully, there are other bottles of each of these wines to look forward to. Hopefully they will not be corked – but somehow once one bottle is tainted it seems to increase the risk that others from the same 6-pack/dozen/etc from the same maker may be unlucky enough to be sealed with a cork from the same infected batch.
While some wineries/winemakers make a conscious decision to seal some (or all) wine with screwcap some still persist sealing with cork. Where this is done, and the best possible cork is used, some forgiveness can be extended. However, not all wines can be sealed with the best quality, premium corks and I can’t remember the last time I opened a tainted wine that was not sealed with a cork!