Four gadgets to improve your wine experience
March 24, 2017
From rapid aerators to help your choice of vintage breathe more quickly to argon gas injected to retain freshness, Tom Harrow reveals his top wine appliances
Wine goes far beyond just the moment of drinking it. To get the full effect you need to store it, open it and serve it in the right way. You may even need to store it after opening if – unlike me – you don’t tend to polish off a bottle of wine in a single sitting. So here are my top four wine gadgets to help you get the most out of your vintage.
Think storage solutions
Whether you are a serious wine collector or just like to lay down some favourite bottles to enjoy in a few years’ time, storing your wine in the best possible conditions should be a major priority to make sure it reaches its peak.
If you’re storing at home, consider investing in a cellar, with companies such as Sorrels offering great solutions for all kinds of budgets. But if you’re pushed for space and the bottle is going to be drunk within a few months of purchase, then a wine fridge could be the answer. EuroCave was the first innovator of wine storage and has been developing wine cabinets and cellar conditioners for maturing or serving wine for well over 25 years. It also provides every wine accessory you can think of.
Give yourself breathing space
I leave it to you to decide on a corkscrew. There’s the classic T-shaped variety, which can make it rather hard to pull the cork out in a single heave. Then there’s the waiter’s friend, which is compact and lightweight but can be a bit flimsy, so make sure you choose a strong and sturdy one, ideally with a serrated rather than flat blade to remove the foil and cap.
More crucial is what to do with the wine after it’s open and before it reaches the back of your throat. Decanting helps aerate the wine, softening the harsher acids and tannins, and ensures that any sediment stays in the bottle. However, the glass you’re using can also bring out the best in the grape.
Larger bowled stemware, such as Riedel or Zalto Burgundy glasses, can act as mini- decanters themselves. In large wine glasses usually used for red wine, a bigger surface of the wine is exposed to air, letting the ethanol evaporate and collecting more aromas in the glass from the exposed area.
If you can’t wait to drink your wine, there are many rapid wine aerators now on the market. Last year saw the launch of Vinaera, the world’s first electric wine aerator, with other brands following suit. The manufacturers states Vinaera has the capacity to dispense fully aerated wine at 28.5ml (1oz) every two seconds with a patented air injection process.
Vinaera let’s you enjoy the full bouquet from the first glass without the wait
Kick the bucket
White and sparkling wine should be served chilled, but say goodbye to the traditional ice bucket, with the melted ice, wet bottles and spillage that comes with it.
A brilliant wine gadget I discovered recently is the Kaelo wine cooler. Using beautiful British design, craftsmanship and patented technology, Kaelo creates a consistently cold and (very importantly) dry environment to maintain your fine wine or champagne bottle at the ideal serving temperature.
Last year, I was thrilled to use a Kaelo cooler at an event celebrating the launch of the new Piaggio Avanti Evo – the most eco-friendly private jet on the market. I presented the best fine wines to enjoy at altitude, all superb products of sustainable winemaking and the Kaelo kept the wines at just the right temperature throughout the day and evening.
What’s more, the super sleek look of the Kaelo will bring a touch of luxury to any home, boat, or Rolls-Royce armrest.
Put a cork in it
Once a bottle is open, no one likes to waste good wine. We’ve all tried to force the cork back into the bottle and put it in the fridge with the hope of keeping the wine fresh for later. The result is rarely water- or rather wine- tight, losing freshness and risking leakage with long bottles that require lying down.
Any wine lover should own a couple of bottle stoppers. Vacuvin is a popular brand, widely available, and its products come with a pump that creates an airtight vacuum to preserve wine and prevent the oxidation process. Choose the stoppers that look like a bottle cap and act as a hermetic seal that can preserve wine for days. They keep the freshness in and are totally spill-proof.
If you usually stick to just one glass, rarely finish a bottle in one go (and like a gadget or two), you’ll love the Coravin system. It leaves the cork in place and extracts the wine from the bottle into the glass through a fine needle that you push through the cork.
Now comes the science bit. When you take the needle out, the elastic cork reseals itself, protecting the wine from oxidation. The remaining free space in the bottle is filled with inert argon gas from a little replaceable cylinder that’s part of the gadget. This way, you can enjoy a good glass of wine from one bottle and come back to it whenever you wish, without ever pulling the cork out.
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