Corked at 35,000 feet!
There is no escaping corked wine, not even when it is a prestigious Bordeaux Chateau being poured in the first class cabin of one of the best-known airlines in the world. Both the Chateau and the airline shall remain anonymous on this occasion, the point being that no matter how much you pay for first class service and the right bottle of wine, it can still be corked and ruin your experience!
Being upgraded to first class was a good start to Charles' trip! He had never travelled in this cabin before and has never felt the need to pay the price for a first class ticket. Once up in the air and lunch was being served, his thoughts turned to the wine list, what were they pouring? Having enjoyed a glass of white, he then asked for a glass of red to have with his main course. It is not a favourite appellation and frequently disappoints but given where he was he decided to see what the Bordeaux was like.
Undrinkable was the answer! Not mildly corked, but like being hit in the face by a damp, musty sock! He spoke to the cabin attendant pouring the wine who clearly didn't even know what 'corked' meant. The more senior member of staff, (who happened to be French) had to hear the French term 'bouchonnée' before she understood the problem. She then tasted the wine and thankfully agreed with the prognosis. They hadn't even tasted the wine upon opening the bottle and all the other passengers being served the wine hadn't made any comment but had just accepted that this Bordeaux tasted like that.
Upon opening another bottle of the same wine that was not corked, the cabin service team were amazed at the difference. Hopefully this event turned out to be a learning process for them to taste wine before serving and hopefully it now means that two more people can actually identify a wine that is corked. I can guarantee that none of the other passengers drinking that wine had identified a fault and I can guarantee that most would not have drunk a second glass.
The moral of the story is once again that no matter where you are and how much you pay for a wine sealed with a cork, there is always the risk that it could be corked. And this is why at Domaine de Sainte Rose we use screwcaps as the seal for the majority of our wines, to ensure that you will always want a second glass!