Disintegrating Cork

This bottle was a nightmare. I picked it up in Pasadena at Chronicle Wine Cellar. The wine caught my eye as it was from Kunde Vineyard, which someone had suggested I visit in my post about vineyards to hit in Sonoma. We weren’t going to be able to make it there, but I still wanted to try the wine, as the Zinfandels seemed right up my alley.

The wine was a Kunde 1998 Shaw Vineyards Zinfandel. It cost $19.95 at Chronicle Wine Cellar. It was a lone bottle on a shelf and I grabbed it the second I saw it. The problem came when I went to open the bottle. I stuck my corkscrew in and the cork was soft. I went to pull it out and it broke. Undaunted, I tried again. What remained of the cork crumbled into a million little particles and fell in my wine, rendering it temporarily undrinkable. I had to strain each glass. And even that didn’t get it all because some of the pieces were so miniscule they fit through the strainer. I wasn’t too hopeful at this point for how the wine was going to taste, given that it indicated to me that the storage of the bottle had been less than ideal (it was 9 years old after all).

Thankfully, I was wrong! The wine was perfect. In fact, it could have aged even longer in my opinion, though I’d be wary of the cork….

On the nose there were aromas of toast, oak, blackberries and currants. The wine had a very pleasant nose and Matt’s friends were laughing at me as I just kept sticking my nose in the glass. I love the aroma of a good Zinfandel. At 14.1% alcohol the wine was on the lower end alcohol-wise of the Zinfandels I see now. In the mouth there were big gobs of dark fruit, spice, currants, blackberries and red cherries. Overally, it left an impression of dark fruit and spiciness with me. I very much enjoyed the wine in the bottle, once I got it open, and hopefully the cork added to my fiber intake for the day.

But tell me, how do you handle things if a cork goes horribly, horribly wrong?