This year we took advantage of the Penfolds Wines Re-corking Clinics to have the single bottle of Grange Hermitage (vintage 1979) in our cellar checked out.
The clinics give wine collectors the opportunity to have their cellared (over 15 years) Penfolds bottles assessed by a winemaker. If necessary they are opened, tasted, topped up, re-corked and re-capsuled.
If the bottle shows some ullage (that is, the level of the wine has fallen through evaporation or seepage) it may need to be re-corked. A gauge, such as shown here, is used to measure the level.
Our bottle was inspected by the winemaker and, based on the level, he recommended that it be opened and checked.
Step-by-step the assessment process is as follows:
While the cork was soaked and crumbly, we were pleased to learn that our wine is in good condition. It’s been certified as having been checked and passed by the clinic. This is necessary if it is to be sold.
However, we will take the advice we were given and enjoy it sometime over the next year or two.
More about the Penfolds Re-corking Clinic