The fascinating thing about the wine I had this evening is that, upon cutting away the foil bottle topper to reveal the cork, I was greeted with a fuzzy green-gray surprise on top of the cork. That's right, there was mold on the cork.
Honestly I did not know what to do. I've not seen this before though it's not all that uncommon. I knew that, if the cork was dessicated by the mold or if the mold made it through to the wine, it would probably be "corked" and warranting a return. But before leaping to conclusions I did some research.
The consensus was that there was no way to tell if the wine was bad without tasting it. I wiped and scraped off the mold and proceeded to uncork the bottle. The cork stayed (did not turn as I applied the screw) which was a good sign. I slowly pulled the cork up and studied the cork's nooks and crannies. Near the top there was indeed some nested mold. However, at about 1/3rd of the way down the mold stopped. I sniffed the bottle and was greeted by a nice bouquet and none of the "corked wine" stink that would warn me off.
I poured, swirled, sniffed - still nothing untoward. Taste. Fantastic!
I spared myself a trip to the wine shop tomorrow to return an otherwise fine bottle and did not have to forego the wine I wanted to taste tonight.
To be sure, caution was warranted. Had the cork displayed mold all the way down, I would have returned the bottle for an exchange. Had the wine poured cloudy or smelled musty and stinky, it would have been returned. But as it is, this is a nice treat.
Raise a Glass!