burrnini


quality posts: 10 Private Messages burrnini

I recently attempted to open a bottle of very good port (from portugal) that I've stored in suboptimal conditions for the past 3 years. I used my standard corkscrew and the cork split in half while I was pulling it out with the bottom half left in the bottle.

I tried to reuse the same corkscrew without success. I then tried a two prong cork extractor and pulled a bit higher in the bottle neck before losing traction. On my next attempt I managed to accidentally push the cork completely into the bottle.

What is the best method for removing a broken cork? Or should I just push it into the bottle neck time. Others in my party suggested tipping the bottle over and trying to knock the cork out but that sounded like a very bad idea to me...haha.

trifecta


quality posts: 71 Private Messages trifecta
burrnini wrote:I recently attempted to open a bottle of very good port (from portugal) that I've stored in suboptimal conditions for the past 3 years. I used my standard corkscrew and the cork split in half while I was pulling it out with the bottom half left in the bottle.

I tried to reuse the same corkscrew without success. I then tried a two prong cork extractor and pulled a bit higher in the bottle neck before losing traction. On my next attempt I managed to accidentally push the cork completely into the bottle.

What is the best method for removing a broken cork? Or should I just push it into the bottle neck time. Others in my party suggested tipping the bottle over and trying to knock the cork out but that sounded like a very bad idea to me...haha.



I would suggest starting with the two prong (ah-so). It helps to break the seal and remove the vacuum. It also keeps the cork in compression. Once it is broken in half it is far more difficult and ymmv. Other option is a cork pop.

kylemittskus


quality posts: 229 Private Messages kylemittskus
trifecta wrote:I would suggest starting with the two prong (ah-so). It helps to break the seal and remove the vacuum. It also keeps the cork in compression. Once it is broken in half it is far more difficult and ymmv. Other option is a cork pop.



I was going to say the same thing.

"If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Champagne is a very kind and friendly thing on a rainy night." -Isak Dinesen

moondigger


quality posts: 11 Private Messages moondigger

I agree with the others about using an ah-so (2-prong) puller, but want to add this: the proper technique is as important as selecting the right tool in the first place. If you haven't used a 2-prong much before, it's a good idea to practice using it on newer bottles/corks a bit to get the technique down before trying it on an old and/or damaged cork. There are some informative videos on YouTube demonstrating the technique. But the two main points to remember are to insert the prongs using a gentle back-and-forth rocking motion, and to twist while pulling.

EDIT: Here's a video that shows the basics. Using a 2-prong cork puller

burrnini


quality posts: 10 Private Messages burrnini

Thanks for the advice! I've never heard of cork pops before. I initially picked up the 2-prong cork puller as an oddity and never realized it had a purpose.

rpm


quality posts: 168 Private Messages rpm

I have long been a fan of "ah so" type cork pullers. I used to have one someone in the family had custom made, probably in the '20s or before. It was two pieces: a machined bar (with bottle cap remover) with a rectangular hole in the middle, from which a very nice and thin razor quality steel blade would drop down. A second blade piece (with a cap on it) could be put into the rectangular hole, to adjust for any size cork. This second blade piece slipped into a slot on the bar for storage when not in use. Someone 'liberated' it 20 years ago or so, and I have had to make do with the commercial version since. Those, unfortunately, typically have blades that are (1) too thick, and (2) too inflexible.

Properly used, they work most of the time, but as others have said, they require practice. Especially with old dryish corks that want to be pushed into the bottle or will crumble with a typical corkscrew.

The thing that will work, if you can find one, is a corkscrew with a very thin, flat spiral blade.

Wine-tasting in 8 words:
Pull lots of corks!
Remember what you taste!