"Can you show me where your accoutrements are?" is a question I don't normally ask when shopping. Accoutrement is a fancy word, indicating that you're a person of class and distinction. I use it because it sounds better in my blog title than "wine stuff." But it means the same thing, and that's what is on my mind today - the "wine stuff" you should have if you want to drink wine like a boss.
Wine is a topic that for many people inspires a fanaticism bordering on lunacy. And so, the world is full of useful accessories and whimsical gadgets that purport to make your wine experience more exquisite. I own many. But today I'll limit my comments to the only two items that I think are must-haves.
A wine opener is a good place to start. Obviously. There are many different types of wine openers. There is the classic corkscrew pull type, requiring the user to tuck the bottle under one arm, grasp the bottleneck tightly, and pull madly without effect. This archaic tool requires grimacing, and you hate to see that. There's that other one with the two flat prongs you're supposed to insert around the sides of the cork and then remove it with a twisty-pully action. Mostly, that one just shoves the cork further into the bottle, and then you grab a classic corkscrew to excavate the now deeply-imbedded cork. More grimacing. There are variations of the basic corkscrew that have little levers, requiring a basic understanding of Newtonian physics, but getting the job done pretty nicely. The best opener, by far, is the rabbit-ear type. Squeeze two handles to grasp the bottleneck, pull a lever like an old-fashioned slot machine, and Jackpot! The cork pulls right out and wine drinking happens without delay. If you don't have one, get one. You'll thank me.
Now that your bottle's open, you might want to pour it into a glass. Not always. If the wine is in a brown paper bag and you are a hobo, then it is acceptable etiquette to gulp sloppily from the bottle and yell unintelligibly at passers by. For most wine drinkers, transferring the wine into a glass before consuming is considered good form. But if the wine you have opened is a bold tannic red, then I recommend another interim step. Aerate that beast. That means let the wine breathe, resulting in an expanded aromatic profile and softer tannins. Translation: aeration makes a good wine great, and a great wine even better. There are plenty of aerators out there, ranging from classic decanters (take too long) to complicated electric devices (overkill). I use a simple and very popular version, the Venturi. Mine is special... it has Grapeline's logo on it. That's it in the photo, see?
Now you know what you need to know about wine stuff. Next time I'm out shopping, I hope to bump into you in the accoutrements aisle.
~ Kay Syrah
Wine Country Guru GalOfficial Blog