The forum software apparently won't allow me to respond to you directly. Every time I push the reply button it goes to someone else's response. So I cut and pasted your response to my re-response. This might come out on Dale's or Bob's response.
First, that's interesting about the '88 Mouton progeria. I suspected something like that when I saw the bottle's ratings tumble from the initial WS 100 to a more recent Parker 89. He had scored it 96 initially, or something like that. When I drank it a few years ago I found it fabulous, especially the nose. The taste was a bit thin in comparison, but beautiful nonetheless. That's why I bought a bottle to save for a special occasion.
Your description favors my inability to pinpoint the flaw. Like with human progeria, there is probably no known etiology for the '88 Mouton syndrome.
I also concur with your analysis of cork condition being a week datapoint with regard to wine quality, until it completely falls apart. The cork from a glorious '59 Gloria crumbled upon removal. The saturated cork from the Mouton smelled bad to me, while I have found other saturated corks in old wines to smell wonderful.
I was nevertheless curious as to why some corks get saturated and considered that it might be a stronger indicator of wine condition than it apparently is. That's why I asked.
I mentioned the corked bit to separate corked wine from this discussion of the relationship of cork condition to wine condition in the short run; because, like you said, it is not related. I have drunk very few oldish wines from my own cellar, which probably explains why I haven't experienced a corked bottle, yet. I've experienced old corked bottles from other cellars. I get quite a few corked Cal Chards. I would guess my sensitivity to the corked condition is average. I have tasted with experts and found my recognition comparable with theirs. Yet, I drink a lot of Bordeaux and almost never find them corked; so I am probably selective and biased as to when I want to be finely attuned.
I'm a nut in some ways, as you know. Honest to God, I just realized something at this very minute. I do indeed find my Bordeaux corked occasionally; although, a minute ago I wouldn't have admitted it. When I wrote the word, "biased," I started to think about it - then realized that when I do find a corked bottle, I ignore it unless it is really corked - then I open another one like it immediately and kind of suppress the episode. Just last weekend, I mentioned that a Clerc Milon was slightly corked. Lynn said, "Oh don't tell me that, now I can taste it...tell me at the end if you have to, or the next day." We kind of treat our Bordeaux like our children and excuse flaws. I can't believe that I have stated a few times on this forum that I don't find corked Bordeaux.
Covert, first of all Happy Anniversary to you and Lynn. Now re the wine, first let me say that I had an 88 Mouton. Opened it about two years ago, and it was a dog. When I complained about it at the time, someone who knows Mouton well said "Yeah, that was a crappy vintage for Mouton." Best as I remember, it was thin and way more advanced than it should have been, where the Haut Brion was drinking beautifully and the Lafite was fall-down gorgeous but really too too young (I bought a complete set of 1sts out of the same cellar. I still have the others.) Anyway, suffice to say that your bottle just sounds like a worse version of mine. So if the 'someone' I just mentioned was right, and even if you're right about your bottle being cooked, you would not have had a thrilling wine anyway. Based on my bottle, I vote for 'oxidized'.
The oldest bottles in my cellar that I bought upon release are from 1989. When I occasionally treat myself with one of these bottles I find the watermark of wine maybe a quarter way up the cork. The top 3/4s looks pretty much like it did when it was pushed into the bottle. The wines are always good. (Haven't found one to be corked, yet.)
Several things here: now, as you know, I open a lot of older Bordeauxs. And I'm here to tell you that I've had great wines with crappy corks, lousy wines with fair perfect corks, and great wines with pristeen corks (the cork from the 53 Lafite we had a few weeks ago should be in a museum, talk about pristeen!). The degree of saturation on the cork is possibly a data point but maybe not--it may only tell you that it's a better thing that you're drinking the wine now instead of ten years from now. The corks that come out in pieces are usually more of a harbinger of a slightly compromised wine to come.
But what sets my ears flapping is your comment "Haven't found one to be corked, yet." I know you know that TCA taint has nothing to do with the condition of the cork, and yet it concerns me to see that comment in a discussion of cork condition. So why did you say that? Oh, and what's your sensitivity to corkiness anyway? I seem to find more corked wines among recent bottlings than old myself, but still, you should have come across a corked bottle or three by now.