This New Year's eve I was at a friends house, and among other bottles, I brought along a '78 Beychevelle. This had been sitting overlooked, in my cellar for a few years and for whatever reason, I thought it's probably now or never.
As I removed the cork, I noticed it was somewhat soft, and had staining all along the sides, though I did not notice any leakage. As it came out, I saw that the corkscrew had not gone all the way through, and the last 1/4 inch or so of cork broke off and stayed in the neck. No sooner had I set the corkscrew down and renewed my attention to the opening (think of looking down the barrel of a gun) the last piece of cork literally popped out of the bottle with some force, hitting me squarely in the forehead, and spraying my shirt with red wine.
Now at this point, I could believe that something had gone drastically wrong with the wine. But no such easy answer. The wine itself was not great, but not bad. The fruit was nearly all gone, and it was a brickish color thru and thru, but there was no bad taste, odor, or any note of fizziness to it. It was what I expected from this vintage. Not great, but drinkable.

Has anyone here ever had anything remotely similar happen?

"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women!" --Homer Simpson
Original Post
Lucky there was no eye injury!

Either there was secondary fermentation (like Champagne) or a temeperature change casued the air inside to heat up, expand, and shoot the cork out. Either way it sounds like it was pretty good wine, so no worries.

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Yes, but I came here for an argument.

Oh! Oh! I'm sorry, this is abuse.
grossie,
No, I had retrieved it from a cool cellar shortly before. If anything, the wine was cooler than the air tempurature. And as I wrote, there was nothing to indicate a secondary fermentation. So it's a mystery?

"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women!" --Homer Simpson
The gas expansion issue is not one of wine relative to air, it's of the air in the bottle heating up and expanding.

In theory (rough theory mind you) the bottle may have been sealed and stored at a cool temperature, trapping "x" air molecules in there. As the temperature of the air hets up (to room temperature) those "x" air molecules begin to move faster, causing expansion of the gas, and now there's only room for "x"-"y" air molecules. This forces the cork out. The fact that this little piece of cork puts up very little resistance to the gas helps it shoot this thing out.

Just a theory, but I have no other.

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Yes, but I came here for an argument.

Oh! Oh! I'm sorry, this is abuse.
grossie,

There still must have been more molecules, or molecules that expand more rapidly than air, present than normal, otherwise this would be the case with avery bottle that comes out of a cellar. Just oxygen should not be enough in this case, don't you think?

I think a secondary fermentation or any other gas producing reaction must have caused it.

Sorry about clumsy language, it is a little early...

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