September 15, 2008

Decanter... or Glass... or Both...

m_67625.jpgOr maybe it is a lovely piece of art. I think it might be a bit of all three. Another great gift idea from MoMA:

A unique gift for the wine enthusiast, this bottle with a wine glass inside is meticulously hand crafted and mouth blown from a single piece of glass, making no two identical. $125
Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

Wine 101 - Dd is for Decanting


To decant... or not to decant...
That is often the question:
Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the woes
Of aged wines so rife with sentiment; or
To pour the crusty juice from its vessel, its home
Into another to clear the wine of sediment...

Well it isn't exactly Shakespeare, but it does present two interesting topics for exploration: What is the difference between DECANTING and AERATING? And why are they important?

bormiolodecant1.jpgThe decision to decant a wine is purely personal, of course. But if you've ever opened an aged wine, say an old cabernet cauvignon that you've been saving... Well, when you remove it from the cellar - or from the back of a closet if you're a city dweller - you may notice a proliferation of what looks like dark crust on the inside of the bottle. That is sediment. Bits of particles that have separated over time. So if you don't want those bits to end up between your teeth or stuck to your tongue when you taste, you can ever-so-gently pour the juice into a decanter for serving and temporary storage.

Aerating, on the other hand, is the process of adding air to an otherwise "tight" wine to allow it to soften and open up a bit. Particularly useful for softening structured, tannic, big wines such as cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot and most big Italian reds, it is not a recommended practice for delicate older wines such as aged Burgundian pinot noir.

31rPfS+PosL._SL500_AA280_.jpgThere are a number of methods and tools for aerating wine. If you are enjoying a glass alone, you may not want to aerate the entire bottle. In that case, I would grab the best tasting glass you own and pour an ounce or two into the glass and let it sit for a few minutes. If you're sharing with a large group, you have a number of options. You can gently pour the entire bottle into a decanter made especially for aerating or you can use a bottle top aerator which is just a tool that affixes to the top of a wine bottle (or sometimes into the neck of a decanter) that provides more air exposure for the wine.

Of course these two terms are not mutually exclusive. You may need to remove sediment and aerate. Rest assured, there are accessories that cover all the bases. Here are some of our favorites:

Selection Decanting Pourer and Aerator $20
Attaches to bottle, oxygenates wine during pouring

Magnifico Decanter with Punt $25
Inexpensive, elegant design and diswasher safe

Bormioli Esperienze Decanter $35
Made from lead-free crystal, decanter with concentric rings that provide aeration

Vivid Wine Decanter & Aerating Funnel Set $70
Lead-free crystal, easy to pour, includes funnel to filter sediment

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 27, 2008

Drip Ruff - Renaissance Fashion Meets Function for Your Bottle

dripruff2.jpgI first saw this drip catcher on NOTCOT, but the following is excerpted from Red Dot Design Awards:

Drip Ruff's design is based on a honeycomb structure that is shaped into a 360-degree ring. It is made entirely from Indian paper - an absorbent material normally used in traditional Chinese painting. The folding method used in its construction provides the elasticity required to "grip" the neck of a bottle. Drip Ruff is disposable after use, and the paper used is recyclable, which makes it environmentally friendly, hygienic and convenient to use.

Obviously depending on price and availability, these could be really nifty to have on hand when you are hosting a dinner party or wine tasting and lots paws will be handling your bottles. Of course, if you're looking for a re-usable alternative check out this Drip Stop Ring

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 12, 2008

Recycled Windshield Wine Glasses

windshield-glasses.jpgCheck out these fantastic and green (literally) stemless wine glasses from Uncommon Goods:

Handmade in Colombia of recycled glass from old car windows, these substantial stemless wine glasses will add an interesting twist to any glass of wine. Sturdy and strong, the thick glass has a slight green hue from the tint originally added to lessen the sun's glare. Beautiful and interesting, these stemless wine glasses are an uncommon take on a stylish design. Each is one of a kind and will vary. Sold as a set of 2.

Charming and stylish for only $22. And they are dishwasher safe.

Image and content via Uncommon Goods

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 8, 2008

La Grande Dame by Riva Collection

veuveriva.jpgI'd like to tell you that this was my anniverary present...and that we enjoyed it while drifting off the coast of Cap-Ferrat. Alas, I would be hallucinating. But it is nice to dream. For the Champagne lover with impeccable taste and very deep pockets, check out the Veuve Clicquot Riva Collection, courtesy of Acquire:

Veuve Clicquot and luxury yacht builder, Riva, are collaborating on a stunning collection of products called "La Grande Dame". The collection features two products -- The Cruiser Collection which is a made to measure piece and comes with 4 bottles of La Grande Dame, 2 magnums of La Grande Dame 88, 6 Riedel Champagne Flutes, 6 water tumblers, plates, table mats, and cutlery. The second item is their "Cruiser Bag" which is a limited edition piece (Only 300 made) and includes a bottle of La Grande Dame 88 and two champagne flutes.

Via Acquire

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 5, 2008

Pour on - Porrón Wine Pitcher

porron.jpgIf you are a fan of Spanish wine (and food, and culture), you must check out this fantastic pitcher from La Tienda. It is only $19.95, which makes it a great hostess gift, guaranteed to liven even the dullest gathering. I wouldn't start with a priorat. . . but maybe a lovely albarino. . .

A porrón is a sure-fire way to have fun at a summer party. See if you and your guests can master the technique of delivering a thin stream of wine into your mouth with nary a drop lost!
You begin by bringing the traditional glass wine pitcher very close to your open mouth and slowly tilting the pitcher so the spout points towards your teeth. Once the wine begins to flow, you gradually pull the porrón away from your face while looking up. When you have had your fill, lower the porrón back close to your mouth before tilting it back to stop the flow. It never touches your lips as you pass the porrón to your adventurous friend!
Easy? Once you get the hang of it. Most people fill the pitcher with regular white or red wine, but we find that sparkling cava fills the bill nicely, and the near misses are not quite so obvious.

Our traditional porrón is a thing of beauty made of recycled glass, which will please your "green" sensibilities. It is shaped in a way that wine stored within has minimal contact with the air.

Give the Porrón Pitcher a try - it's a great conversation piece and a lot of fun.

Image and content via La Tienda - The Best of Spain in America

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

August 1, 2008

To Market, To Market - Bread & Wine Bag

breadwinebag.jpgI love it and I hate it . . . where to begin?
I LOVE the idea of a bread and wine bag to take to the market. It is very laid-back-European and of course, appeals to my inner conservationist. I've often wondered how I could keep my wine bottle(s) from crushing delicate produce in my floppy, pocket-less canvas satchel. This leather version from Rebecca Minkoff is an adorable solution.

HOWEVER, I'm disinclined to pay $185 for a leather bag that will doubtless encounter all manner of leaks, spills, and sweaty refrigerated foods. How about a cheap, fun canvas or burlap version? Way more my speed. I don't think you need to spend a fortune to conserve. Oxymoron, anyone? These days being "green" is often synonymous with spending green.

That said, if you have the disposable income, by all means splurge. And then keep coming back to us for cheap, fun picks to fill the wine pocket.


Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

July 31, 2008

Drinking from a Drop - Fubiz™

droppa.jpgCheck out this crazy cool carafe. Definitely not the most practical for wine--the base is only about 10cm--but it might work for sake or for a romantic dinner for two. The water droplet design is breathtaking. And I love that the cup, carafe and tray are a fluid, self-contained unit. Check out more photos after the jump.

Via Fubiz

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

July 16, 2008

Drunken Horse Wine Holder

horseholder.jpgKitchy doesn't quite cover this little gem. I want to hate it--but a little part of me smiles inside when I see it because it is exactly the sort of thing my grandfather would have proudly displayed on his bar, among the collectible antique car, covered wagon and train shaped bottles of Jack Daniels and Jim Beam. Not sure if he would have used it as a wine holder, but I'm sure he would have used it to hold a bottle of something.

Via Fosfor

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking

June 7, 2008

Great Wine Gifts for Dad

Now is the time to thank Dad for all of his of love and support--and for some, perhaps a thank you for imparting his years of wine wisdom. Here are some of our picks to help you do just that.

Our picks from Amazon:
31X880jTFZL._SL500_AA280_.jpgMetrokane Wine Pourer with Stopper $5
Serve wine with a touch of elegance. The Velvet wine pourer pours smoothly without drips and the stopper seals wine air-tight. Both pieces have an easy-grip velvet finish.

worldwineatlas.jpgThe World Atlas of Wine $32
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson once again combine their unrivalled talents to enhance this masterpiece of wine knowledge. 48 extra pages, including 17 new color illustrations, 20 new maps, and double page spreads and full-page photos in the atlas section for maximum visual impact. It's an essential addition to every wine lover's or professional's library.

osteropener.jpgOster Electric Wine Opener $22
At the touch of a button, the Oster Wine Opener easily opens up to 30 bottles on a single charge. The stylish and ergonomically designed soft-grip handle will fit into the palm of your hand for a firm grip. Also includes a foil cutter to remove wine seals and a recharging base for convenience.

vacuvinopener.jpgVacu Vin WineMaster Corkscrew $45
Throw out those old corkscrews and replace them with this revolutionary one. Using it is simple. Place the Corkscrew over the top of the bottle; the built-in bottle grip will hold the bottle tightly. With both hands, gently move the handles up and down; the specially-coated spiral will easily insert into the cork and then extract it. Includes a foil cutter and a 2-year guarantee.

From Wine Enthusiast :
21344.jpgGearshift Bottle Stopper $15
Win the race against oxidation with this "5-speed" stopper! The rubber seal around the stainless steel gearshift with cherry wood knob ensures a tight fit on your wine bottle---and a fast way to lock in freshness. The ideal gift for the wine-loving car buff!

19320.jpgPersonal Wine Curator Wine Cellar Software $25
Indispensable to managing your wine cellar, this wine cellar software catalogs your collection with impressive details. You're able to categorize your wines up to 500 sub-regions. You're alerted when your cellared wines have reached maturity and match each wine to over 7,500 food pairing suggestions.

Thumbnail image for clefduvin2.jpgClef du Vin Pocket Wine Tasting Tool $130
Mature young wine instantly. When dipped into wine, the patented metal alloy on the tip replicates the aging process, softening the tannins in young wines and improving their taste.

And great gifts from Wine Messenger:

gift_3.jpgGift of Wine Boxed Sets
icon$39 - $275
Quick, easy and always appreciated, high quality wine gifts have been a Wine Messenger trademark for over a decade. Perfect for the holidays and great year-round! Giving a gift is quick and easy, simply: Select from among our range of premade gift sets; or Select your own wines and gift box them at checkout.

clubs_banner_03.jpgWine of the Month Subscription
icon$27 - $79 per month
A wonderful way to explore the world of boutique wines. Every month our Tasting Panel selects their two favorite bottles. Available in three price categories: Silver, Gold and Platinum. You are guaranteed great selections.

Noël Wallace at Permalink social bookmarking
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