Spongy cork

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Denis Davidoff, Jul 31, 2020 at 11:19 PM.

  1. One of my really good friends has recently bought a mixed case of Italian wines (different vintages) to try out over the summer, and I've noticed that the capsule & cork of one bottle, Gaja (20 years old), feels a bit spongy when I push the cork. It doesn't easily go into the bottle like it would with a wine that has had its cork pushed out due to heat, it just feels a bit rubbery. I don't see any leakage nor creases around the capsule, and the fill level is great.

    Has any one experienced this before and/or knows if this happens to some bottles?
  2. If the fill looks OK and there's no seepage I wouldn't worry. I'd have thought pressing a cork like that is asking for trouble - if it goes in what's been proved?
    Sean Hardon and Denis Davidoff like this.
  3. The only time I've come across what you call a spongy cork is when I am opening an old bottle and the reason for it is because the cork is completely soaked and the real danger is it falling in when trying to extract it.
    Denis Davidoff likes this.
  4. Usually this means that the bottle has been exposed to excessive heat, and the cork easily goes in when you try to push it.
  5. What do you mean by "old", i.e. how many years old was the bottle? The one that I'm talking about is 20 years old.
  6. It may well just mean that it wasn't a very good cork. Corks were often not very good 20 years ago. The wine could be in fine condition but of course it might not.
  7. Let me think, one of them was a 25 year-old Australian wine, but then again they didn't have very good back in the day. I'm surprised about the Gaja as I expect it would have had a good cork, and a long one at that.
  8. I've also heard that Australian corks were really bad back then.
  9. Yes - it would just never occur to me to try pushing in the corks of any wines I own!
    Thom Blach likes this.
  10. Yes and this before on an Italian red and it was fine. Of course that can never be guaranteed so I’d be tempted to open relatively soon and try it.
    Denis Davidoff likes this.
  11. I assume the best were reserved for bush hats?
    Mahmoud Ali likes this.
  12. Brilliant!
  13. Heat damage can be seen by 2 things, a raised cork and seepage. Being able to push a cork down would mean shrinkage imho. That occurs as the bottle has been stood up and has had no contact with the wine, therefore it drys out.

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