Old South African Classics Get New Corks from Amorim

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What can be more precious than the gift of life? Well, that is exactly what a few selected classic South African wines received recently when Amorim put together a team to recork some old wines in the collection held by Distell’s Tabernacle.

Michael van Deventer who oversees the Tabernacle’s vast collection of vinous treasures selected samples from two ranges of wines in need of recorking: Oude Libertas Cinsaut 1971 and Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon 1966.

With Amorim supplying new corks stamped with the wine, vintage and date of recorking, a few skilled individuals ensconced themselves in the revered atmosphere of the Tabernacle to perform and witness the procedure.

The recorking was led by resident French sommelier and winemaker Jean Vincent Ridon, who has vast expertise in recorking and reconditioning wine collections in France and South Africa. Carrying a case that looked more suited to the performing of open-heart surgery than opening old bottles of wine, Jean Vincent set about removing the old corks from the wines.

This is a pain-staking process as each cork had to be removed with precision and care. Two types of cork-removers as well as tweezers were deployed to do the work after each bottle-neck had been cleaned and dusted to remove the particles that had accumulated over the past four to five decades.

This took up to 20 minutes to remove one cork. A layer of argon gas was put into the bottle to prevent the contents oxidising while the wine was being tasted.

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