As a winemaker, I know what my glassmaker (St. Gobain) and cork purveyor (Portocork) recommend for fills and ullage (answer: they have ## for each bottle mold given your cork), but I am interested in what experienced collectors look for in terms of in-the-neck/ shoulder fills/ullage. Do you have rules of thumb for where a properly-cellared bottle should visibly be out 3, 5, 10, 15, etc., years? Do you ever buy younger shoulder fills, and if so, are there rules of thumb for predicting aging differences?
I splurged on premium 44mm cork for my 2006 reds (CabSauv, Sangio and Supertuscans), and now in 2011 it is obvious (and consistent) upon opening that only the bottom third of the corks is swelled with moisture from the wine. These wines were bottled 20 months after vinification. Is this progress linear? Assuming no leakage from creases or wide temperature frolics, if 3.5 years x 3 =10+ years before a full swell is what I can expect, does that equate with no volume loss over the same period? And what of the rate thereafter?