I recently dug out a bottle of Heidsieck Monopole (NV) which has been kicking around for too long, having been moved from location to location and badly stored in damp cupboards.
When popping the cork (and it did - the champagne was plenty fizzy), I noticed a series of strange ‘growths’ on the base of the cork. You can see these little brown/black dots which protruded from the cork here:
Worse, if you grab one of these protrusions, they come from within the cork, and they stretch (eeew)… so it’s not a sugar crystal or other deposit which would scrape off the cork. I’m intrigued! Does anyone have any good knowledge of what this might be? I’ve one more badly-stored bottle of bubbles to deal with, and will be intrigued to see what that’s like. (I’ll add that on removing the foil there was a very small bit of light furry mould growth around the neck; easily wiped away)
The fizz itself was lively, and showed no real signs of its ill-treatment; even tasted OK, but inevitably we ditched it in favour of a fresh bottle of Nyetimber that happened to be in the fridge… Can anyone shed any light?