Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wine Openers & Glassware Basics

There are many ways to get a bottle of wine open, ranging from a swiss army knife, to a shoe. But the best opener out there, is one of the simplest. A double-hinged 'waiter's corkscrew' is my weapon of choice. They usually cost only $5-$15 and last a lifetime, as long as you don't lose 'em (which I have a bad habit of doing).

Another option for extracting corks is the Ah-So aka the "butler's friend". Legend has it, butlers would use this puppy to sneak the cork out of their master's bottles, pour out some good wine, replace it with juice or cheap wine, and reseal it. These days, it is used more for show or to extract a fragile (old) cork.

There are lots of expensive corkscrews/corkpullers out there these days including the Rabbit, butterfly corkscrews, and even gas-charged openers that make opening wine impressive. But unless you have money to burn, people to show-off to, or get one on closeout, they aren't worth the extra dough. Save the money and spend it on some vino!

So what should you pour your wine into once it's open? There are TONS of options when it comes to glassware. You can use anything from a tumbler (like the Italians do) to a $100+ hand-made crystal glass. I recommend a simple, stemmed glass with a thin rim and a bowl that is deep enough to properly swirl your wine in when 1/3-1/2 full. It doesn't necessarily have to be crystal (especially if you are sure you'll break it the first time you try to wash it), but lightweight is important. It really just depends on what you're comfortable with. And no, you don't need 5+ different types of glasses for every different type of wine. A simple "white wine glass" like the one above is great for everything (even red wine).

For bubbly, it is a good idea to invest in some flutes. The bubbles will last longer and it will taste better as a result.

What about stemless glasses, you ask? If you never wash anything by hand, stemless glasses are for you. They aren't my favorite vessel for sipping for wine, but they serve a purpose - they'll stand up to the abuse your dishwasher dishes out. Some people complain that stemless glasses are bad because your hand will heat up the glass, thus heating up the wine.  I say, if you are cradling your glass that much, then you aren't drinking fast enough!

Bottom line: if you can get your hands wet, go for glasses with a stem.  They will allow you to swirl better and they won't fill up with fingerprints. Plus, washing stemmed glasses by-hand is actually pretty simple. All you need is warm water. Just rinse the glass in warm water and buff it clean. No soap needed - usually.  I say 'usually' because if you have a cold, insist on wearing bullet-proof lipstick when you drink wine, or let your glasses sit overnight before you get to washing them, you may need a touch of soap.  But keep in mind: soap residue can ruin what could have been a great glass of wine, so use it sparingly and rinse it off thoroughly.

So what are you waiting for?  Go crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy it!

1 comment:

  1. Clean your items to be personalized with alcohol wipes to remove any surface dirt or oils and avoid touching the surface until after the decal has been applied.

    Stemless Wine Glasses