Posts Filed Under wine products
Given that, at the time this publishes, I will be on the road (yeah… again…), this seemed like an apt time to dive into the non-liquid portion of the sample pool, and offer up the July 2016 incarnation of the Wine Product Roundup. This month, there are no drinking vessels in the lineup, but the printed word does again make an appearance (because, well, writing).
First up under the review microscope is Bee Smart Gear’s Bottle Protector (about $20 for a pack of 3). Generally, I like to refer to these types of products as “bottle condoms,” since they serve a similar purpose: physical protection, and prevention of leakage (sorry; yeah, I went there).
I am a fan of these products (talking about the wine bottle protectors now), because I have used just about all of them in real-life, checked-baggage scenarios and I can personally attest to their efficacy. In Bee Smart’s case, you slip the bottle neck-first into the bottom of the protector, being sure that the internal bubble-wrap covers the entire bottle (you can fit a 750ml or smaller into these). You then close the double zip-locks at the bottom, roll up the end, and connect the velcro straps.
The bubble wrap provides ample protection, provided that you pack the bottle intelligently (aim for the center of your suitcase, with plenty of dirty undies on all sides). If there is a break, the bags almost always provide great leak protection; in fact, if you enclose a full bottle into one of these, and smash it with a hammer, in my experience it won’t leak unless the bag is punctured (I do not recommend trying that at home, by the way)… Read the rest of this stuff »
I’ll be hitting the judging circuit this week at the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition, so it seemed a good time to get a jump on the June wine product round-up (my monthly attempt at working a path through the product samples that I receive that aren’t drinkable).
This month, I’m happy to report that I’ve got two strong recommendations to out forward; one for your mouth, and one for your brain.
First up, the RÖD Wine series of stemware (available in packs of three glasses for about $48 per pack). These come in three impressively-packed incarnations: glasses for red, and white wines, and flutes for bubbles (the latter of which I found superfluous, as will be explained in a moment).
The three designs all share a similar sturdy, restaurant-quality build that seems quite ready to stand up to everyday use; and the rims are juuuuust slender enough that the sturdiness doesn’t impact the delivery of the wine to your eager face. The base of the stemware takes a bit of getting used to, as it’s a thicker design than you’ll find in most stemware, but apart from that minor cavil, I thought that the RÖD Wine glasses sent to me struck an excellent balance between durability, price, and elegance. If picking one style, I’d recommend the white design; for me, they were the most versatile performers, handling white wines, delicate reds, and sparkling wines without breaking a sweat (or whatever the eqivalent of glassware sweating is)…
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extend my procrastination streak gather together my notes in anticipation of (finally) getting around to writing up my most recent wine jaunts, I figured I’d get a jump on the wine product roundup for May (part of my monthly attempt to put some wine product samples through the wringer).
First up this month is the Premium version of Bacchus Break, a set of two stemless, flexible – and presumably unbreakable – wine glasses made from silicone (about $18). The product tag line, appropriately, is “because drunk people drop shit.” And, indeed, we do.
I love the concept of this sort of product; ideal for casual parties (especially outdoor gatherings), I’ll take a properly (tulip) shaped wine glass made of just about any inert material over a standard-shaped glass or cup, any day. The Bacchus Break glasses provide that, once their silicone-rubbery-smell dissipates (which, for me, took several days). Light, and flexible to a fault, you’re not going to be able to break these things; and the Premium set includes an expandable bag for holding wine, something of which I’m also a big fan (because they’re so much more cooler-friendly than bag-in-box or glass packaging).
The flexibility comes at a cost; two costs, actually. First, the rim of the glasses is a bit thicker than is ideal for wine imbibing. Second, the glasses seem almost too flexible; they don’t feel sturdy in the hand, and require a gently touch (lest you grab it too forcefully and create a sort of juice-box-squeeze mess). In my experience, the similar Govino products perform slightly better; they are more apt to break if you step on them, but have a nice balance between flexibility, rigidity, and size (the new 10oz is a particularly good choice for bubbles, by the way).
Next up, something for your reading pleasure…
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The April edition of the wine products round-up brings us two new items from the sample pool, both of which I can recommend with some reservations. How’s that for an endorsement?!?
First up is the Vinturi Champagne Opener. Yes, you read that correctly. Vinturi has branched out from their popular aerator, and now has a small armory of wine-related gadgets tempting the dollars from the confines of your wallet. Today’s victim of my in-house-testing is sold only via Williams-Sonoma, and will set you back about $35.
Insert your own crude marital aid joke here
The first thing you notice about the Vinturi Champagne Opener, aside from its shininess, and its resemblance to marital aids… okay, the third thing that you notice about it is that it’s heavy. This is a solidly-constructed bit of wine gadgetry, and I wouldn’t want to have this item dropped onto my toes. I will rank its hardy construction as a plus.
Essentially, it’s a twist-off wine opener designed exclusively for sparkling wines; you remove the foil, cage, and cap from your bubbly, and while being careful to keep your fingers out of any of the openings, put the Vinturi on top of the bottle and twist until you hear a “pop” (trust me, you won’t miss the signal; it’s loud). The cork can then be extracted from the upper opening of the Vinturi.
The thing works, and works well. I’m a little concerned about the aggressiveness of its functionality, however; it’s often said that the opening of a sparkling wine should sound as delicate as “a nun’s fart,” and this certainly is not nun-flatulent-like. It’s a loud pop, and whenever I hear that sound, I envision extra bubbles – for which we usually pay extra! – escaping unnecessarily.
Personally, I’m find using a towel and my own hands to pop open my bubbly, so the Vinturi might be of limited use unless you a) plan on opening a lot of bubbly, or b) have a physical issue that makes the traditional method of opening bubbly difficult for you, or c) are a wuss.
Anyway… on to our next “with reservations” item…
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