Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

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forest26
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Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

Post by forest26 » 12:56 Fri 24 Mar 2017

I went to view a case of 1963 Noval yesterday and was disappointed to find that that 10 of 12 had corks that had dropped. They look to have been cellared reasonably well. All of the bottles were all sealed with plastic caps (as opposed to foil or wax) and there was no seepage. I have noticed this before for some Croft 66 with plastic capsules but put this down to storage. I then went through my cellar and found some Sandeman 63 that had been sealed with a plastic capsule - again in some cases the corks had shrunk and dropped.

Has anyone else noticed the same?

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AHB
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Re: Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

Post by AHB » 22:50 Fri 24 Mar 2017

Assuming you mean those bulbous plastic capsules that are quite difficult to remove, I experienced this with Croft '63. However, I found that the plastic capsule gave such a good seal that the fill levels were into neck and the Port had aged normally.
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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Old Bridge
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Re: Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

Post by Old Bridge » 07:17 Sat 25 Mar 2017

forest26 wrote:
12:56 Fri 24 Mar 2017
I went to view a case of 1963 Noval yesterday and was disappointed to find that that 10 of 12 had corks that had dropped. They look to have been cellared reasonably well. All of the bottles were all sealed with plastic caps (as opposed to foil or wax) and there was no seepage. I have noticed this before for some Croft 66 with plastic capsules but put this down to storage. I then went through my cellar and found some Sandeman 63 that had been sealed with a plastic capsule - again in some cases the corks had shrunk and dropped.

Has anyone else noticed the same?
Were these bottles stored standing or lying horizontal?

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uncle tom
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Re: Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

Post by uncle tom » 15:20 Sat 25 Mar 2017

Assuming you mean those bulbous plastic capsules that are quite difficult to remove
My experience is that it is the thin plastic capsules, rather than the bulbous ones, that are the principal culprit, and that the worst affected wine is the Croft '63.

Essentially, the problem is that the capsule works too well - the aging cork does not experience any evaporation from its topmost surface, becomes saturated and drops as it shrinks. However, the wine is not normally affected adversely, and the capsule continues to maintain an excellent seal - so best to view this as an opportunity to get bottles cheap, as no merchant can retail a bottle in that condition.

As far as getting the bulbous plastic capsules off is concerned, there is a quick and simple method that does not require Stanley knives and a risk of grievous personal injury..

Boil a kettle, and keeping it boiling, play the steam onto the capsule for about twenty seconds, rotating it as you do so. Then put the blunt side of a small kitchen knife blade against the base of the capsule and push upwards - the softened plastic capsule flicks off in one piece with very little effort.
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I shall be sober and you will still be ugly - W.S. Churchill

forest26
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Re: Plastic capsules on 1960's bottles - cork failure?

Post by forest26 » 16:47 Sun 26 Mar 2017

Hmmm.... Thank you Tom for a comprehensive answer.
Maybe I should have picked up the 63 Noval.

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