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Wine Gismos and Gadgets

Perhaps I am showing my age but life nowadays seems to move at break neck speed and subsequently people can seem impatient. Gone are the days of waiting for the good things in life, modern society seems to be more concerned with hurrying them up.

These were my thoughts when reading about a “revolutionary cellaring tool” in Wine and Spirits. This wonder gadget is the Clef du Vin. It is an instrument that won the Paris International Inventions Competition and is the product of 10 years research by chemist and oenologist Laurent Zanon and sommelier Franck Thomas. When dipped into wine its patented metal alloy replaces the key aspects of the natural aging process. One second of insertion into the wine is worth one year of maturation. It is celebrated by some of the best sommeliers and is available from www.wineenthusiast.com at $99.95. Birchgrove Products are the UK stockists and prices start at £65.00.

Personally, I doubt whether a quick fix would replace the natural aging process and all this involves. Perhaps more research should be done on the subject. America seems to be leading the world in its gadget technology and 2 new devices on the market use magnetic attraction to make the wine “more drinkable”. The Perfect Sommelier (available from ww.ageyourwine.com at $42.95) and The Wine Clip (www.wineclip.com) are magnetic devices that soften the tannins and make the flavour rounder and mellower. Apparently they actually work; making immature wines (especially reds) seem as if they have aged in a cellar for years.

Half the enjoyment of wine is the tradition involved, the anticipation of superb things to come. I know I am not going to open a bottle of particularly decent wine and stick a metal thingummy in it and then pronounce to my bemused guests that “Lo and behold! It has aged “x” amount of years and can now be enjoyed!” For starters I think they would look at me as if I had lost my marbles and Sue would have probably gone into shock!

For those people who are unsure of the correct temperature to serve their wines the Bonjour Wine Maestro Thermometer (available from www.bonjourproducts.com at $30.00) is electronically programmed for 19 popular types of wine and has a digital liquid crystal display. An even more high tech gizmo is the Infrared Thermometer ($60.00 from www.winenthusiast.com) which can measure the temperature inside a wine bottle. It works from up to 10 feet away. Why 10 feet away? Are you going to point the thing like a laser at an unsuspecting wine waiter in a restaurant to ascertain the temperature of the wine? “Aha! Villain, thou hast not chilled the wine!” Incidentally this gadget can read temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. I suppose this will be very useful should one be imbibing the odd tipple on Mars.

The Vin Chilla Wine Cooler ($149.00 from www.surlatable.com) chills wine to the correct drinking temperature in less than 5 minutes. Could be useful in this weather I suppose, but not at that price. The fridge seems much more economical.

In the unlikely event (well, unlikely in our household at least) that you are unable to finish a bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne, the Champagne Recorker is your gadget. It costs $10.00 from www.wineenthusiast. The Champagne Bottle Stopper ($20.00 from www.surlatable.com) also works well. You have to buy special stoppers for effervescent wines as ordinary ones will only lead to explosions where and when you least expect. We have never opened a bottle without considering that it all had to be drunk, as flat Champagne is an offence against humanity. What is wrong with the old fashioned trick of putting a silver spoon in the neck of the Champagne bottle? This keeps it fresh over night until breakfast. Gone are the days where we used to put an upturned egg cup over the half drunk bottle of red wine to keep the fruit flies out – there are now stoppers for reds as well.

Talking of letting red wine breathe – there is now a device (of course) to do just that. The Air Au Vin Wine Aerator works by gently bubbling air through your wine cutting the time needed to let the wine breathe down from hours to minutes. So, again, gone are the days where you have expectantly uncorked your bottles of red and aligned them in their splendour whilst your better half is bustling in the kitchen concocting various culinary delights for your guests. Getting told off for trying to secrete them closer to the Aga or wood burner on a freezing winter night as they are “in the way”, is part of the anticipation of the evening ahead. To me, these gizmos take away half the fun of wine drinking, but as I said maybe I harken from a bygone age.

Sediment is another problem for the modern gadgeteer and decanters are now taking on all shapes and sizes, with or without filters to dispense of the stuff. There are even handy aids for barbeques where people try to balance plates and wine glasses. The Hands Free Wine Glass Holder is available from www.wineaccessory.com at $15.00 for 4. They are sturdy stakes with glass holders at the end that you can happily stick in the lawn should you find yourself needing octopus like levels of appendages. I am not such a fanatical gardener that my lawns have to be verdant and sacrosanct but if 20 people stuck those things all over our garden I know for a fact that Basil, Jasper and Jake (our dogs) would see “stick heaven” and make off with the lot.

No, I have decided most adamantly, I am not a gadget man. All good things come to those who wait. And the waiting is worthwhile, believe me!

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com and www.yotophoto.com

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2 Responses to Wine Gismos and Gadgets

  1. Peter May - The Pinotage Club says:

    The Perfect Sommelier (available from ww.ageyourwine.com at $42.95) and The Wine Clip (www.wineclip.com) are magnetic devices that soften the tannins and make the flavour rounder and mellower. Apparently they actually work; making immature wines (especially reds) seem as if they have aged in a cellar for years.

    C’mon Nick, in your other posts you show you are sensible and your feet are firmly on the floor and looking out for drinkers interests. Why give such uncritical plugs to these snake oil merchants?

    Test them in a blind tasting — as I have done — and you get exactly the result you’d expect. £65 for a magnet?? gettaway

  2. Nick says:

    I know, I know! . . . I am not a gadget man – but loads of us out there are! So in the interests of widgets, gadgets, gismos and new fangled objects I stand firm by writing about them. Personally I would rather take pot shots at some of them (see my Blog “The Wine Bot”) but you never know – they might teach an old dog to learn new tricks!