Seeing cork tear and crumble as you heave on the corkscrew is enough to bring an oath to the lips, the cork sometimes seems out to frustrate our primary goal – drinking the contents of the bottle. A horizontally stored bottle will keep a cork moist through contact with the wine – the cork’s integrity is retained and it should remain whole when removed.
Dried out corks can tear before they are entirely removed from the bottle neck. When this happens push the corkscrew back into the remains of the cork but at a shallow angle – as if you are trying to get the corkscrew through the cork and through the neck of the bottle. Then gently pull on the corkscrew so as not to create more cork crumb on the way.
Sometimes that last bit of cork doesn’t want to come out, so give up trying to remove it and push it into the bottle using your finger or the end of a pencil.
In his book How to Enjoy Your Wine wine author Hugh Johnson describes a device called a claw – three bits of bent wire which can be used to hook bits of cork out of a bottle. Unfortunately I can’t find anyone who still sells this useful looking device, so why not get the grandchildren to bend bits of wire coat hanger and make you one.
Corks can still flummox us when we try and push them back to seal a half-finished bottle of wine – they either refuse to go in at all (more common with plastic corks) or break. If you don’t have an expandable rubber bottle sealer (readily available in packs of three from supermarkets) then cover the open bottle with a double layer of cling film secured in place with an elastic band. This will keep out the air and the flies until you finish the wine tomorrow.
PG Wine Reviews
Animus Douro 2016, Portugal
Flavours of plum and violets with some cocoa – excellent value for the selling price.
Olas Del Sur Chilean Merlot 2017
Good simple flavours of plum and milk chocolate.
Makaraka New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Val de Salis Picpoul Chardonnay Frisant Brut sparkling, France
A gently sparkling wine with flavours of apple and lemon with a backdrop of woodiness.
Running with bulls Tempranillo 2014, Australia
Sophisticated flavours of cherry and choocolate cake. Not sweet and obvious.