Exploding corks

Anything to do with Port.
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winesecretary
Warre’s Otima 20 year old Tawny
Posts: 696
Joined: 15:35 Mon 13 May 2019

Exploding corks

Post by winesecretary » 10:13 Thu 17 Dec 2020

We are all aware of the nineties/early noughties exploding cork phenomenon. It might be useful to try to list out wines (and sizes) in which it has been encountered more than once. It currently appears to me to be particularly bad in halves but it is not exclusive to them. Bottle size is bottle save where mentioned.

1994 Quarles Harris
1998 TQDV (halves)
1996 TQDV (halves)
2001 GM (halves)
2001 FP (halves)

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
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Re: Exploding corks

Post by Andy Velebil » 18:07 Thu 17 Dec 2020

This is an issue that has affected wines all over the world, from all regions. I don't think calling out certain producers that people happen to open is productive or proper. It's well established, as you mentioned, virtually all wines/Ports from this era have issues with corks disintegrating when being pulled.

It's also why I use an ah-so or Durand for all corks from the late 90's to early 2000's, for all my bottles...Port, wine, or otherwise.

winesecretary
Warre’s Otima 20 year old Tawny
Posts: 696
Joined: 15:35 Mon 13 May 2019

Re: Exploding corks

Post by winesecretary » 19:22 Mon 21 Dec 2020

Andy, I think there's been a misunderstanding. My 'We are all aware of the nineties/early noughties exploding cork phenomenon' was a port-cork-specific 'we'. I've virtually never had an exploding cork from anything other than selected ports from this particular era (nor from any other era of port).

Andy Velebil
Dow 1980
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Re: Exploding corks

Post by Andy Velebil » 23:48 Mon 21 Dec 2020

winesecretary wrote:
19:22 Mon 21 Dec 2020
Andy, I think there's been a misunderstanding. My 'We are all aware of the nineties/early noughties exploding cork phenomenon' was a port-cork-specific 'we'. I've virtually never had an exploding cork from anything other than selected ports from this particular era (nor from any other era of port).
I open a lot of older dry wines from this era, as well as Port too like many of us. It is pretty bad across the board. Like us Port geeks, the dry wine geeks are all to familiar with this issue and the topic comes up from time to time on other wine boards. I guess the only good thing is the corks are still sealing well and the wines don't seem to be suffering any ill fate thus far. It only seems to be an issue when you try and get the cork out with a regular cork screw and end up with millions of tiny pieces everywhere. Very frustrating.

What I haven't seen is the cause. Perhaps we should try and figure out why it happened during that time frame. One could easily surmise something in the harvesting, handling and/or production of the corks. The question is what.

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benread
Martinez 1985
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Re: Exploding corks

Post by benread » 09:29 Tue 22 Dec 2020

By ‘exploding’ are you referring to the phenomenon where the cork refuses to move when attached with a spiral style ‘pull’ corkscrew and instead disintegrates into lots of dry tiny pieces? If so, I’ve previously assumed this was just an occasional annoyance and not some wider issue. I will pay more attention now!


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Ben
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Vintage 1970 and now proud owner of my first ever 'half-century'!

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