Examining the cork is always the first task when opening a bottle of wine. What you notice with this bottle is how perfect the cork preserved this exquisite wine! A high quality cork allows approximately 1 milligram of oxygen to enter the bottle each year. Why is this important? Air allows the sulfites to be removed that are added in the bottling process to keep the wine fresh and not have harming effects from oxidation. The wine being fourteen years old, it was bottled for approximately eleven years in the cellar. The corollary is that a good cork can keep a good wine good, but a bad cork can spoil any wine.
Another facet of a bad cork is called “cork taint” which is a specific compound called Tricholoroanisole (TCA) that makes a wine taste and smell horrible. It is often compared to the fragrance of wet dog or sweaty gym socks. This is a whole other topic for another story.
In sharp contrast, I recently opened up this wine and you can see the trail of wine on the cork exiting the top of the bottle! The wine had turned bad and this had only been bottled a relatively short time of two to three years. Cork quality makes a difference! This vintner was aware of a “bottling glitch” on the line and thought they had caught all of them. He readily provided a new bottle.
I never have experienced a “bad cork” or any leakage from an O’Shaughnessy wine over fifteen years. O’Shaughnessy is one of my all-time top 30 wines!!! Two nights ago opened a 2007 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder from the cellar to accompany dinner. The 2007 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon is from the west side of the Napa Valley, Mount Veeder. On the eyes, a dark ruby coloring with medium viscosity. On the nose, a woody but sweet briar, with red fruits waffling into the nose. On the palate, extremely concentrated fruits, licorice and black cherry exploded in the mouth. The finish had some strong tannins, but without any “edginess” which provided for a long velvety crescendo. Currently release price is $140/bottle and is typically on allocation.
For more information on corks, see a previous story at: