Bad wine experiences are, thankfully rare. But when they happen, they can be quite educational. Here’s one I had never experienced before.

At the tasting room at J winery near Healdsburg in the Russian River area of Sonoma, we experienced the opening of a sparkling wine. It did not pop as you would expect from champagne; nor did any visible gas escape. The wine, when poured had a few bubbles which quickly died out. It tasted flat, like fruit juice, without any of the zing usually associated with the sparklies. The attendant then opened another bottle. “Pop”, as expected, lots of bubbles, and yes, that delightful champagne experience in the palate.

Guess which one of the above corks belonged to the defective bottle?

If you chose the one on the right you are correct. A typical champagne cork should have an inverted cone shape when opened, as you see from the proper one on the left. The defective bottle had one that looks plain cylindrical. It actually wasn’t the bottle that carried the defect; it was the cork. It could not seal well with its puny shape.

It seems that you can’t have an explosive, satisfying experience unless the hole is sealed with a properly swollen member. It’s not sex, it’s just champagne. Or is it?

Moris Senegor