As we are getting the house ready for the holiday, I started rearranging some of my wine gadgets that I have in a wooden box that I received one year as a Christmas gift, the box held a fine bottle of wine and the top was fitted to hold a drip ring, a pourer, a stopper and a waiter’s corkscrew. As I was packing up everything my mind went off on a tangent and I started thinking about wine subjects and articles.
Over the years, people have stated that I am a hard person to buy a gift for, I do not see it, but perhaps they are right. So over the years I as well as my Bride have been recipients of assorted wine gadgets and gizmos. I am thinking of one of the most important items, other than wine, that someone that enjoys wine should possess and that is a corkscrew. It is very difficult to enjoy a bottle of wine without one, unless you have a screw cap enclosed bottle. One of oldest and best cork screw relies on brute strength, because once you screw it into the cork, you must manually pull the cork straight up out of the bottle. We have also received this wonderful huge table top cork screw that used to be in a restaurant, which requires very little work, but a large area to use it, because of its size.
The two most popular styles of cork screws are mechanical and are in most peoples drawers at home. The one where as you screw the bore into the cork, the side arms slowly ratchet up, and then you push the side arms down and the cork pulls up by mechanical means. The other classic style is the “waiter’s cork screw” which looks light a pocket knife with a cork screw attachment. You first use the knife attachment to cut away the foil capsule, and then you fold the knife in and pull out the cork screw attachment and screw it into the cork, then use a pivot bottle opener to slowly work the cork up by pressure against the rim of the bottle. Not to mention that most “gimme” cork screws with branded names are of the “waiter’s” style or a version of the brute strength one, which comes in two pieces, where a sheath that covers the screw when not in use is slipped through a hole on top of the handle for gripping. Then there is a fancy mechanical unit referred to as the “rabbit” that is a very easy tool to use, but I have broke a few, until I wised up that they do not do well with the synthetic corks.
Then there is a unique tool called a two prong opener that has two very thin strips of metal that one slides between the cork and the bottle on opposite sides of the cork and slowly turn the whole unit up until the cork is removed. This is also a handy gadget to use, if the cork starts to crumble from an ordinary cork screw, though it is a little trickier to use, and does require a little patience and practice.
Then there are a couple of fun openers to use. One injects a needle through the cork and then you and than you manually pump air into the bottle and the added pressure pushes the cork up. A similar type of opener to that uses a replaceable CO2 cartridge that forces the cork up. I do not recommend either of these types with a rare bottle of wine, unless you are going to decant it immediately after.
Finally while we are talking about opening the bottle of wine, a handy little gadget is a foil cutter that makes removing the capsule that encases the glass and the cork. One really wants to make sure that both the metal or plastic is removed and the glass wiped clean before pouring the wine, so as not to taint the wine with any residue that has formed.
My final word on opening a bottle when the worst happens and the cork crumbles into many pieces and you cannot get the cork out, I push the balance of the cork into the bottle. I then get a decanter, put a funnel into the decanter’s neck and then line the funnel with a coffee filter and slowly pour the contents of the bottle into the filtered funnel and allow it to slowly let the wine drip into the decanter. It may take a couple of times, as the filter paper will get full of the cork debris and any sediment that may have been in the bottle as well.