Went in my cellar today and noticed some stickiness on a bunch of bottles. Looked up and saw a 2000 Zind Humbrecht Riesling Brand VT with a torn capsule in the racks above the sticky bottles. Found the cork on the other side of the room!
Apparently the cork exploded through the capsule and shot across the room.
Checked TNs on CT and found that several had noted a spritz in these. I guess this one was extra spritzy - the other three bottles next to it looked fine.
Have not had this happen, but I have had some older sweet rieslings re-ferment in bottle and become carbonated. I’d imagine in a scenario where enough pressure gets built up from that, that it could force the cork out. That’d be my guess as to what happened.
Minor spritz is usually just dissolved CO2 left over from the original fermentation, I think, and not refermentation.
But this Vendage Tardive probably had a fair deal of residual sugar. Combine that and a little leftover yeast that wasn’t filtered out or dosed with sulfur and 20+ years to ferment and produce more CO2 and … POP!
Have you had it since release? I can imagine that it if was stored at warmer temps, the refermentation might have accelerated.
Bad luck. I’ve seen this happen a number of times in the lab with wines that have lowish alcohol and high residual sugar. Definitely refermentation in bottle. I’m amazed it lasted 20+ years before blowing its top. The refermentation probably happened somewhat earlier in its aging, once the wine had lost most of its free SO2, then it just needed to wait until the cork had partially dried out and contracted to reduce the pressure needed to blow it out. The capsule is incidental - those things aren’t that strong.
There’s a good chance that at least one of your other bottles is in a similar situation but has had a better time of holding its cork. Be very careful when you open them. I’ve had a corkscrew blown out of my hand when opening such a bottle. Not as bad as miscalculated pet-nats, but not pleasant, and capable of doing some damage if it ends up in your eye.
Yes, you are exactly correct. Whether malo or fermenting out residual sugar.
The field blend from Whistling Ridge was always a tiny lot, and being in a hock bottle required a change over on a bottling line. We had a small line and bottled it by hand from 2006-2010. About 3-4 months atter bottling the 2010 it began to push out the corks. We had to disgorge everything, refilter and rebottle the wine. Slightly drier…
No fun at all, and regardless of the cost of the change over we bottle it on the mobile bottling line every year.
It happened to a friend of mine who had a unit in his cellar that would heat in the winter and cool in the summer. One spring he changed the thermostat from winter to summer, but there was a change on the unit he was supposed to make but didn’t and the result was that the unit was heating when the thermostat was calling for cooling.
I went in three days later and couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong until I realized it was 93 degrees in there, and the A/C unit was blowing hot air. Several bottle shot their corks out, but most of the rest of the cellar was okay, as we found out over the next few years. I was surprised by how well those wines stood up to that abuse.