Monday, March 2, 2015

Wine Tip of the Week: Uggh!!!! My Wine Cork Broke!!!

If you open enough wine bottles it will happen to you at some point. A wine bottle with a natural cork may break off during opening.  I have opened quite a few bottles in my day, and even with tons of practice occasionally some expletives will be uttered (they don't help the problem - but they do make me feel better!) as some amount of cork is on the corkscrew, and some amount still in the bottle. 
If the cork is in good shape - try again with the corkscrew - screw it in as far as possible, even past the cork - and try again to remove the remaining piece. If the cork appears dry and crumbly, or there is only a very small piece of the cork left in the bottle - trying to use the corkscrew further may just grind cork into tiny bits.  Your best bet in this case is to push the remaining cork into the bottle (the handle of a fork or spoon works for this), and then filter out any cork bits as you pour the wine into another container such as your trusty decanter.  If your decanter came with a filter for wine sediment - this works great, otherwise cheesecloth is your best choice.  I have heard coffee filters recommended, but those could potentially impact the flavor of the wine.  If coffee filters are all you have on hand - at least make sure they are unbleached.
Properly stored wine should leave wine in constant contact with the cork - so your wine will not be harmed by the presence of the cork pieces, they are just not very attractive to see floating in the glass. If the cork was very dry it could be a sign that the wine may have issues if exposed to too much air - so make sure and sniff and taste before serving to make sure it is OK.

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