Opening a bottle of Duckhorn Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon, the top of the cork breaks off and we need to carefully extract the remaining piece to avoid cork dust and bits from falling into the wine. Observing the cork, we see a line of wine running along a small crack. The purple line stops a millimeter short of the top of the cork. There doesn’t appear to be any leakage outside of the bottle.
In past experience, we have seen defective corks where wine leaked out leaving stains on the cork top and streaks on the outside of the bottle. In some cases, oxidation had completely spoiled the wine.
We apprehensively pour a small amount and check the color and smell. The dark ruby hue and plum aroma check out o.k. There is no bitterness on the palate as might be expected if the wine was spoiled by oxidation but we notice that the flavor of this bottle is a bit dull in comparison to previous Decoy Cabs we have enjoyed. We conclude that the wine has had a tiny amount of oxidation but not enough to completely spoil it. We decide that this bottle is fit enough to drink but it’s one of those circumstances where the wine consumer would be justified to return the bottle, along with the defective cork, to the wine shop.