Pulling the cork from a bottle of wine and hearing its satisfying ‘pop’ is a pleasurable tradition, so I’m told. Getting at and removing a cork ought to be easy: just insert the corkscrew into the cork and pull. Instead, more often than not, I seeing the cork tear and crumble as I heave on the corkscrew. The cork seems out to frustrate our primary goal – drinking the contents of the bottle.
Corks work best when kept moist through contact with the wine – a horizontally stored bottle achieves this. But less than optimum bottle storage angles and temperatures, along with cheap chipboard-like corks made from waste cork crumbs stuck together, all allow the cork’s integrity to fail before it’s 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.
Even if you’ve managed to remove the bigger bits of cork there will still be some crumbs left in the bottle – harmless but you don’t want to get them between your teeth – so pour the wine through a tea strainer or through a bit of kitchen towel or coffee filter. Messy but effective.
PG Wine Reviews
Castillo Montanez Spanish Tempranillo Reserva 2011
Asda have quite a good choice of wines in the £4 to £5 category at the moment, and this is one of them: creamy cherry and warming blackcurrant flavours that match pasta bolognese or haddock and chips (with mushy peas).
Lindemans Bin 99 Australian Pinot Noir 2014
A light red with both plummy and blackcurranty flavours.
Sangre de Toro 2014 Spain
£5.99 Co-op (down from £7.99 until November 3)
An interesting and flavoursome red hiding in a plain and uninformative wrapper (no flavour descriptions or hints to the grape varieties involved on either the front or back labels) at a very reasonable price. It tastes and smells of chocolate brownies with a slightly smoky/cherry Tunes addition. Nice.
Errazuriz Chilean Easte Series Chardonnay 2013
Simple stuff – with creamy apple and lemon flavours – but still enjoyable.
Rawson’s Retreat Australian Chardonnay 2014
A slightly buttery subtle Chardonnay with fruity flavours of apple, lemon and pear.
Co-op Truly Irresistible South African Chenin Blanc 2015
Tastes and smells like a fresh fruit salad that contains a lot of banana (you can smell it coming out at you from the bottle before pouring) along with buttered pineapple and crisp apple. A really nice creamy-sharp combination of flavours. Wine of the Week.
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© Paula Goddard 2015 www.paulagoddard.com