Uncorking a Bottle of Wine

By Paul Kalemkiarian June 1983

There are some finer points about uncorking a bottle of wine. The inspection of the bottle before opening, and the actual uncorking procedure deserve some review. Some people have referred to the latter exercise as “dressing the bottle”, which I think carries it a bit far! But no matter, a few of the procedures are important, so lets look at them.

Notice the level of the wine in the neck. If it is more than an inch below the bottom of the cork, the bottle has suffered ullage. If it is an aged wine, you can suspect that it might be off. In a young wine, it might be a mechanical short fill, or a leaky cork, which will show other evidence in the capsule.( moisture, leak marks, and in some cases a corroded hole or edge to the capsule). If no ullage is evident, but some moistness, mold, or corrosion shoes on or under the capsule, you should not be concerned.(In shipping of wine, temperature changes cause miniscule amounts of wine to escape from around the cork, and cause this).

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