A bad cork
can ruin even a superb wine.
two reasons for a cork to be 'bad'. The first, is totally out
of our control - a chintzy wine producer who decided not to
make that extra investment in a good cork. And how much would
that extra investment have cost? No more than an extra penny
or two per cork!
reason is certainly in our control - wine storage. Wine bottles
should be stored lying down, always. Whether it be in our own
personal wine cellars or wine racks and certainly in the places
where we purchase our wines. It's fine for a wine seller to
have a couple of bottles of wine standing upright for effect,
but before buying too many bottles, verify that the bottles
had been stored lying down. Better to buy one expensive bottle,
open it, check the cork, and then to return for more bottles
if you enjoyed the wine.
It is a
shame to invest in an expensive wine and be left with nothing
more than a very expensive vinegar.
are three types of corks:
Real Corks - are made from parts of the cork oak (Quercus
suber) tree. Sheets from the tree are stripped from the bark
and then dried, bleached and treated against bacteria. They
are cut to size and shape and placed into the bottle. Moisture,
released by the wine, causes the cork to swell thereby providing
an airtight fit.
a real cork, wine will not age well. There is, however, one
caveat. A good wine, with a real cork, stored badly, will develop
a "corky" taste. And sometimes, for no good reason, the cork
just goes bad.
Corks - are made from compressed cork chips and dust. They
do not absorb moisture and do not lend themselves well to sealing
and storing wine.
are appropriate for wines with a short shelf life. Some wines
are made to be aged, others are not. Vineyards can get away
with these corks in those bottles that should be enjoyed immediately
Corks - are lots of fun when you pop them, but they are
the worst of wine corks. They are very difficult to tug out
of the bottle and have no value short of keeping the wine in
careful popping these corks. They have a tendency to fly away
from us and can injure anything from the vase your aunt gave
you as a gift, to your eyes.
there are Screw Tops. No wine worth drinking is stored
in a screw top bottle. These tops are reserved for bubbly, tickle
your nose, wine-like beverages. And they work wonderfully with
sweet kiddush wine and grape juice.