Condition of the bottles

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Bordeaux bottle levelBurgundy bottle level

It is normal that the condition of bottles, stocked even under perfect conditions, change with time. A 10-year-old bottle will generally not have the same appearance as a 60-year-old bottle.

A cork does not hermitically seal a bottle, therefore the level of wine slightly diminishes over time. There are 2 reasons that this phenomenon may be accelerated: stocking in a cellar that is too warm and/or a cork that is weak and more porous than average. 

General condition of a bottle

If there is no additional information given on the wine's sheet, it means that its state is normal considering its age:

Explanation of the condition of the label

The labels of ancient bottles are generally marked by the years spent in the cellar. A good hygrometry (level of humidity in the cave) which insures good stocking conditions in the cellar, is often fatal for the label.

Should you worry about it ? On the contrary. A label in perfect condition may lead us to conclude that the bottle was stored in a cellar that was too dry and therefore detrimental to the wine. 

There are however, two exceptions: labels that were protected by the owner and those that were relabeled at the château. Labels showing slight flaws (small tears and traces of humidity) are considered good. The other flaws are defined as the following: 

Explanation of the condition of the capsule

Capsules could have, unfortunately, been damaged during handling. In general, this does not affect the quality of the wine. However, a piercing on the top of a capsule may increase the risk of evaporation or leakage.

Bottles with wear or damage on the side of the capsule are considered good. Others are defined as the following :

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