Monolithos Wine Dimensions: April 2018
From elegant dinner parties to informal get together, a glass (or three) of wine is sure to please. However when serving a fine bottle of wine, how you serve it is almost as important as what you serve. To best experience your wine, it’s important to have the right glassware and tools. Α collection of wine accessories can make it easier to serve and enjoy wine at home or in events, bars, restaurants and other occasions. Let’s take a look at some of the most essential wine gadgets which can add value to your wine events.
A bottle of wine, no matter how expensive or amazing it may be, quickly becomes worthless if you don’t have a way to open it. If you like wine, you will definitely want to make sure you have a dependable wine opener around at all times. Pulling a cork out of a bottle seems like a pretty simple task, but there are many different ways to accomplish this.
Wine openers come in so many shapes, sizes and styles that you have a huge selection. Whether your priority is finding the most affordable choice that does the job, or getting something as effortless as possible, you should be able to find a number of strong options to choose from.
1. Traditional & Screw-pull Corkscrews
The screw-pull bottle opener is the simplest design of the bunch. You’ve got a handle on top to hold onto, with a curled metal rod at the bottom (this part is often referred to as the “worm”). You screw the worm into the cork and then pull on the handle to pop the cork out.
Screw-pull corkscrews are small and affordable. However, their main downside is that they require some serious arm strength to pull the cork out of the bottle. Because they’re harder to use than many of the other types of bottle openers on the market, traditional corkscrews aren’t nearly as popular as they once were.
2. Wine Keys & Waiter Corkscrews
A waiter’s corkscrew adds a lever to the equation. This design allows you to rest the wine key on the top of the bottle to help you pull the cork out. In order to accomplish this smoothly, you have to be sure to get the worm into the centre of the cork and then screw it in just the right amount, as well as rest the lever on the rim of the bottle at just the right angle.
Once you get the hang of using a wine key, they’re usually not too difficult to handle and they have the additional advantage of being lightweight and easy to carry around (hence their association with waiters). Waiter’s corkscrews usually include a foil cutter built in as well, for some extra convenience.
3. Winged Corkscrews
The winged corkscrew is probably the most popular type of bottle opener. It brings us a step further in terms of ease of use. By adding in an additional lever, this type gives you two “wings”, one on each side. As you turn the handle up top, the wings on the corkscrew will slowly start to rise, then all you have to do is push them both back down and the worm will pull the cork out of the bottle.
It’s a relatively simple process that can be done with minimal effort. However, this type of wine opener is not recommended for opening aged bottles, as these are likely to have more brittle or sensitive corks. The force of pulling the cork out with a winged corkscrew may snap or break older corks.
4. Lever Corkscrews
Lever corkscrews are even easier to use than their winged counterparts. They have handles that hold the wine bottle in place while you lower the screw using a lever, then simply pull it back out. It’s a simple and painless way to open a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, some lever corkscrews don’t work well with synthetic corks, which are becoming more common in many newer bottles of wine.
5. Automatic & Electric Wine Openers
This type of bottle opener does all the work for you. You place the device on top of the bottle, press a button, the cork comes out and your wine is ready to serve.
Automatic wine openers cost more than most winged and waiter’s corkscrews, and are typically similar in price to lever corkscrews. The only effort you’ll really have to use with these is making sure to keep them charged or make sure the batteries get replaced when they run out. They are affordable, innovative and make a lot of sense for anyone with weak hands.
6. Air Pressure Wine Openers
Instead of a traditional corkscrew, this kind of bottle opener requires that you insert a hollow needle down through the cork. Then, a small button is pressed to release just the right amount of CO2 from the inner cartridge, pushing the cork out of the bottleneck.
The air pressure bottle opener has the benefit of requiring minimal physical force. It also removes corks faster than just about any other type of opener. On the downside, one of these will only last for about 80 to 100 uses, so this can be one of the more expensive options if you tend to drink a lot of wine.
7. Air Pump Corkscrews
The air pump corkscrew works similarly to the air pressure bottle opener. A needle is inserted through the cork, and then, while gripping the specially-designed hand grip, you take the pump in the other hand and oscillate back and forth, pushing air into the bottle until the cork pops out.
At first glance, wine glasses may look fairly similar, but subtle design differences can actually have a significant impact on how you experience a wine. The contours of a glass determine how much air the wine comes into contact with, how much aroma is released, where the wine first hits your tongue and even its temperature.
The use of a stemmed glass offers an important advantage. Holding a wine glass by its stem helps to keep the heat of your hand away from the wine. Otherwise, the temperature of your hand can influence the temperature of the wine.
When serving red wine, a wider bowl increases the surface area of the wine that’s exposed to air and encourages alcohol evaporation, which creates what’s known as the wine’s aroma.
Lighter white wines are best enjoyed with only slight oxidation, as too much can begin to mask the nuances of the more delicate varietals. Therefore, the narrower, taller bowl reduces surface area, thereby preserving the chill and the delicate bouquet of white wines.
Aerating or decanting wine is a simple method of exposing wine to oxygen, which helps smooth out harsh tannins and bitterness while releasing aromas. It triggers oxidation and evaporation. Oxidation is what makes an apple turn brown after its skin is broken, and evaporation is the process of liquid turning into vapour. Decanters offer an easy and elegant way of aerating your wines. Another simpler way to achieve adequate wine aeration, in case you don’t have a decanter handy, is to pour the wine into large wine glasses and let them sit for at least ten to twenty minutes.
After being cooped up in a bottle for so long, exposing a wine to air/oxygen immediately before drinking usually opens up its flavours and lets it comfortably “settle” into its taste and character. Wines aerate slightly as they are poured from the bottle into your glass, but aerating/decanting increases the rate at which oxygen brings forth the wine’s best characteristics.
Most often aerating and decanting are reserved for red wines, but they are perfectly suitable for some whites and rosés as well. These whites usually display similar traits to their red brethren, such as being dry, full-bodied, and with heavier mouth feels than most other whites.
The more dense and concentrated a wine, the more it will benefit from aeration and the longer it can go before beginning to fade. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to aerate delicate older wines for long, as you can miss out on their unique aromas, although they are often decanted simply to remove sediment.
Once the cork has been popped, a wine becomes extremely vulnerable to oxidation. Sometimes you may want to savour a glass or two now and save the rest for later. That’s why it’s good to have a wine stopper on hand, something that will keep wine fresh after opening. Keeping oxygen at bay is the only way to prolong how long a wine will last, and the only way to do that is to invest in a wine preserver.
There are three main tactics to arrest oxidation, and gadgetry is available for each. They are:
1. Suck the air – including the oxygen – out of the bottle, leaving a vacuum.
2. Replace the bad air with good air; some inert gas that won’t interact with wine.
3. Form a physical barrier between the wine and the air. You can also do this by pouring the remainder of a larger bottle of wine into a half-bottle and resealing it such that no air is left between the wine and the cork.
Preserving the life of your wine can easily be achieved with flexible and durable wine stoppers of silicone construction, which make sure that a wine bottle will be sealed air-tight. These stoppers will last you a long time, due to the known durability that silicone offers.
Another gadget which claims to preserve your wine up to 10 days is a Wine Saver Pump and Stopper Set. The wine pump extracts air from the bottle and reseals it with a rubber stopper that is durable and long-lasting, providing an air-tight seal that will keep your wine fresh. The rubber stoppers are simply designed and effective for keeping air out of the bottle. This stopper seal system works with both red and white wines.
Getting air out of a bottle should theoretically protect the wine indefinitely. The trouble is the part where you create a vacuum by hand. How much air can you realistically pull out of a wine bottle? Furthermore, some have speculated that the process of creating the vacuum sucks out the volatile esters from the headspace in the bottle, essentially removing flavour compounds along with oxidizing elements.
Enjoying a bottle of wine with friends automatically makes any bottle a good one, but it’s even better if it’s properly chilled. By reaching the ideal temperature, you will be able to ensure that the wine is being enjoyed at its optimum.
Most wine thermometers are easy to use, but more importantly easy to read. The designs are all slightly different, so choosing a traditional stick thermometer may suit you, or maybe you’d like one with a modern twist which wraps itself round the bottle. Worn like a necklace, this thermometer sits on your wine bottle to measure the temperature. It's easily slid over and onto the bottle.
Tips on storing wine
When storing your wine, it is important to understand that proper temperature is essential to maintaining the flavour and aroma of the wine, whether you’ve got five wine bottles or 500. So:
· Keep your wine chilled: The average room temperature is too warm for serving or storing your wine. The warmer the ambient temperature, the quicker the wine will age and go bad. If you’ve ever left a bottle of wine in your car during the summer and then wondered why it tasted like pure alcohol or maybe even a little vinegar-like, you know what heat can do to a bottle. That is an extreme case, of course, but room temperature wines are not given the chance to fully express themselves, tasting duller than if chilled.
· Store your wine on its side: Two words – cork moisture. By keeping your bottles on their sides, with wine constantly in contact with the cork, you won’t run the risk of having a “corked” wine.
· Like vibrations, fluctuating temperatures can negatively impact the ageing and chemical processes happening in your wine. This is why cellars and wine refrigerators are fastidiously temperature controlled. A mild, constant temperature is best.
Having most of the accessories mentioned above allows you to have a seamless and enjoyable wine experience and by following the simple tips, you should feel confident and a little more prepared to explore the world of wine.