Wine gadgets that enhance enjoyment
Now wine-lovers can boost their taste sensations with a tool-box of delights, finds Catalin Paduraru
Those of us who have expressed an opinion on wines, who have gained any kind of expertise through tasting or work with wine as our job find that our friends will always put us ‘in charge’ of the job of choosing a wine.
Given this position, I would argue that it may be worth distancing ourselves from the ultra-traditionalists.
Because they, in the name of the keeping a wine’s identity unaltered, end up doing the exact opposite of their intentions. They put wine on a pedestal, isolating it from wine lovers and mocking new methods that succeed in preserving the very identity they hold so dear.
These conservatives give a big ‘No’ to void pumps, drop stops and thermometers – each one designed to enhance our enjoyment.
So, if we decided which side of the fence we’re on, let’s talk about some of the best ‘gadgets’ on the market.
Savour every drop
The most controversial accessory is the drop-stop. As the name suggests, this is meant to stop drops of wine falling on the table cloth or, even worse, on someone’s dress or trouser leg. Its most common shape is a full circle, made of shiny foil.
There is another efficient and more elegant variation: a transparent apparatus which channels the seepage into a special chute.
This chute then retrieves all drops, sending them back to the bottle. The finest expression of this utility is given by a silver choker that surrounds the bottle neck, with a plush lining which picks up the wine drops.
In the last two cases, by combining the useful with the aesthetically pleasing, these should be accepted.
Then there is the thermometer. Those who have the opportunity to taste the best wines may know that it is a pity if this drink is poured into a glass where the temperature is not correct.
To avoid such awkward situations, one can use a wine thermometer. Thermal sensitive foils are effective in the case of young white wines (generally applied to the bottle) and even tube thermometers can do the job, when they are dipped into the bottle or glass. But dare we do it in the case of a famous, expensive wine, whose every move – from the bottle to the glass – is watched closely? Of course we can’t.
This is why they invented the thermometer that does not need direct contact with the wine. It is enough to place this technical miracle 2.5 cm away from the wine surface, where it shows the precise temperature.
Touching the void
Void pumps, although they are not a novelty, keep fulfilling their mission and are without rivals in the domestic environment. If you should you want to keep a wine in excellent conditions for several days, there is no alternative.
Another help is the foil cutter. There are many occasions when either we or the host hurts a nail or cuts oneself trying to peel the foil away from the bottle neck. On most occasions the foil has a small red string which – theoretically – once pulled out should uncover the cork.
This does not always happen, and one has to often chip away at the metal with the end of one’s finger. This can often cause an unpleasant injury and breaks the spell during the wine-opening ceremony.
The cutter, in any of its forms, including a small knife, toothed or arched, from very good corkscrews, can remove the foil in a second and does not create a domestic crisis.
There is also the wonderful ‘clef du vin’, a key which can pretty well anticipate the evolution of one particular wine. This is a gift for (and an adversary to) sommeliers.
There are also a plethora of other accessories such as tasting glasses, wine cylinders coasters and aerators.
All will enhance the pleasure of wine and can help the experienced amateur transform a hobby into a passion.