106 | squaremeal.co.uk
Last autumn, winemakers from
Australian producer Penfolds � ew
into London on a mission: to provide
a health check for bottles of ne wine
hiding in dusty cellars across the UK.
The Penfolds Recorking Clinic is a
free service for collectors of icons such
as Grange, St Henri and Bin 707, o ering an
opportunity to meet winemakers, assess
wine quality and pick up cellaring tips.
'We've been running these clinics around
the world for more than 20 years and no two
have been alike, no two stories the same,'
says Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago,
who attends every clinic. 'It's all about
people, humanity, emotion and wine.' The
clinics have been held since 1991, with more
than 100,000 bottles being recorked.
For the day-long clinic in London, Gago
was joined by winemakers Steve Lienert
and Matt Woo, as well as winemaking
technical assistant Ben Mehrtens. But how
does the whole process work?
Any Penfolds wine more than 15 years
old is eligible to be inspected for leakage or
low ullage (the amount of air between the
cork and the wine). 'Over time, all wines
start to recede a little, due to travel or
seepage into the cork,' explains Gago, who
measures the amount that has receded.
'We don't recork everything,' he adds. 'If a
bottle's in pristine condition, there's no need.'
However, if the amount of wine in the
put a cork in it...
back<The Penfolds Recorking Clinic helps collectors assess their
wines - and always uncovers a few surprises. Square Meal joins
chief winemaker Peter Gago to see how it's done WORDS JULIE SHEPPARD