Thursday, March 31, 2011

Accessories Make The Man

In the fashion world they say that "accessories make the man". Well, in the wine world, a few handy items can definitely enhance the experience so let's talk about some useful wine accessories.

The Clamshell ($5.99). Forget about buying half bottles of bubbly. If you like to drink sparkling wines then invest in one of these. It clamps on the top of the bottle and keeps the fizz in. Instead of losing the sparkle in a few hours you can keep a bottle in the fridge for a whole week and just have a glass or two a day. Genius!

The Vacu Vin Wine Saver ($9.99). Another good wine preservation system, it consists of a rubber stopper and a plastic vacuum pump. After the bottle is open, the stopper is placed in the top and the pump sucks the air out of the bottle. It effectively keeps oxygen out of the bottle and extends the life of the wine for many more days than just sticking the cork back in the top. Think about wrapping half of a cut apple in plastic wrap so that it doesn't turn brown. This is the same idea. Easy to use and it works.

A Good Corkscrew. Simple right? A corkscrew pulls out the cork, that's it. Well, not all corkscrews are alike. The Windsor Wines Corkscrew ($6.99) is of a type called the "waiter's friend" or the "sommelier knife". The most important feature of any quality corkscrew is a hollow stem so that the it goes into the cork rather than digging out the cork like the old two lever models. Our corkscrew has the benefit of being teflon coated so it easily works it's way into the cork. Another great feature is the "double hinge" so that you can achieve proper leverage on the cork no matter how deep or shallow it is.

Last but perhaps the most vital accessory is a good stem. If you are drinking wine regularly and not using a proper wine glass then you are missing out. I could write an entire article about stemware, and indeed there is a whole business devoted to pairing a type of wine with a certain glass. There is some merit in that, but suffice it to say that if you don't become a wine geek then you don't need to go that far. The biggest thing a good glass does is let you smell the wine. The tulip shape helps to expose the wine to air and to capture and reveal it's aroma. A good glass also has a cut rim rather than a rolled rim on it's edge which helps to deliver the wine to your palate without hitting a mini "speedbump". We sell Spiegelau stemware in a variety of shapes and quality levels so just ask us if you are interested.

What's nice about these little accessories is that they are super practical and not expensive. Consider them tools of the trade, if you have the right tool it makes the job much easier. Purchase them once and they will greatly enhance your wine experience.


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