Stoppers and Corks for Wine Bottles
A ‘stopper cork’ is one slightly trimmed or tapered so that it is easily inserted, which possesses a firm, usually plastic, top. Many fortified wines have this type of cork to facilitate service. A plainer type of stopper cork without a top is also used at wine tastings, when large numbers of bottles must be temporarily recorked, without the bother of having to drive back the original and probably tight corks; this type of stopper cork can, if thoroughly washed, can be used on many occasions.
Glass stoppers, such as are used for decanters, are sometimes forgotten once the process of decanting has got the wine into the decanter. But it really does make a difference, with an old wine, as to whether or not the stopper is then put back or left out. Once the decanter is in the warmish atmosphere of the dining-room, this brings the wine on and aerates it somewhat in advance of drinking time. So, if it seems delicate and you wish to be sure of keeping its charm within the decanter until it is poured, put the stopper back; but leave the stopper out with a wine that is still young, possibly even hard.
If the stopper of a decanter is put in when the decanter is put away, there is a risk – if it is not often in use – of it getting stuck. Should this happen, pour a little olive oil around the stopper where it joins the decanter, leave it for some hours and then try and ease it out. Should it appear to be stuck fast, try soaking the neck of the decanter in hot water, when the expansion due to the heat and also the oil may loosen it. If all else fails, you must take it to a chemist or laboratory equipment shop, where there are instruments for undoing glassware that is stuck in this way. Ideally, do not put stoppers into stored decanters; keep the dust out of a decanter by inserting aof paper.
STOPPERS FOR SPARKLING WINES :
There are various stoppers which, when inserted into a bottle of sparkling wine, will seal it and retain the sparkle in the wine for some time. They are of particular use when wine is served by the glass. If it is desired to seal the bottle and no stopper of this kind is available, it is possible to do so if a wedge-shaped piece is cut out of the original cork, enabling it to be re-inserted in the bottle, and then tied down with string. A special device is used as a Champagne stopper; this either clips over the the lip of the bottle, or fits on to it by means of a small lever. Both stoppers will keep the fizz in any sparkling wine.