Protruding Cork / Heat Damage Question

Curious to get others thoughts on your experience with corks / bottles that don’t look terrible (i.e. cork not saturated, no signs of seepage) but are slightly protruding. I opened a bottle today I’d bought from a restaurant’s cellar, and it looked like there was a slight bulge before removing the capsule, and upon removal the cork was slightly raised (see picture). Open the wine, and the cork has a bit of a “muffin top” in the area that was protruding. I decanted the wine and put it away for later - a quick sip I did take seemed OK but not thrilling, we’ll see what air does. I’ve had a few wines in the past that were older vintages and had corks a bit more protruding with the same “muffin top” situation and in each of those cases, the wine was clearly not sound. With this younger wine - 06 Vajra Bricco delle Viole (and with a vintage I haven’t tasted) it is a bit harder to tell upon first taste.

Curious what you guys think about the possibility something like this was heat damaged?

That cork does not look like the product of heat damage. You would also expect to see more wine up the side. My guess is that the cork wasn’t put in perfectly.

With a muffin top like that, the cork was probably only inserted to that point at bottling, not pushed out by expansion of the wine from heat or freezing.

Agreed. Wine up the side of the cork is more likely to indicate heat damage. That or the producer pre-soaks the corks… [shrug]

Thanks everyone. For what it’s worth on the '06 Vajra BdV, it’s hard to say because I am biased, but it seemed a bit dull and closed off. Dark to black fruit profile, a bit of licorice, tobacco, quite austere. It seems a bit odd based on my experience with other vintages of Vajra, which tend to be more of a red fruit profile and on the generous side for Barolo, but '06 Barolo tends to be quite austere and closed off still in many other examples I’ve tasted, so I can’t be sure.

What worries me, however, is it appears that a number of bottles I’ve received from this shipment (all from one restaurant, which I’d have expected to have good storage) have slightly protruding corks. Hard to tell exactly without cutting capsules, but below are some other images of a different bottle of the '06 Vajra from this same source, a control bottle of Barolo from my cellar, and then another bottle from the same source as the Vajra.

The corks only seem to be slightly raised, so maybe I’m just paranoid now, but when I look through my cellar every other bottle either has the capsule perfectly flat or the cork is slightly lower than the top of the capsule in some older bottles. Not something I usually pay too much attention to though…

If a batch from a single location but different producers all protrude…red flag. Otherwise, the mis-insertion at bottling is plausible.