I fully intended to write a wine review last night. I had the wine all selected, and was even going upscale: the 2005 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard red from Highlander Wine & Spirits, a $55-$65 predominantly Merlot/Cab Franc blend from one of the best producers and top vineyards in Washington State. I had my notepad in front of me and my iPhone camera armed and ready; I popped the cork and out came…half of it. The other half didn’t even budge from the bottom of the bottle neck. I gently tried pulling out the stuck half with the corkscrew, but to no avail: all I ended up doing was puncturing a good sized hole in the middle of the half-cork and causing a bunch of cork debris to fall into the wine. Awesome. I eventually ended up having to push the stuck cork back down into the wine, which would have been a great idea if the cork hadn’t disintegrated on its departure from the bottle neck and showered Andrew Will’s labour of love with a fine layer of wood powder. After some salvage efforts I was able to get the wine back to a quasi-drinkable state, but decided against putting it up on PnP in case somebody questioned my tasting notes of sawdust, tree bark and firewood.
As a mournful tribute to the waste of a bottle that good (and the corresponding portion of my wine budget that went with it), I thought that tonight I’d quickly touch on what to do if you’re faced with this exact situation where your cork breaks as you’re pulling it out of the bottle. Step one: swear. Even if you manage to save the day with the maneuvers described below, it’s still a giant pain that will require most of the contents of the bottle you’re trying to rescue to de-stress from. Read the rest of this entry »