Posts Filed Under wine products
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…
Read the rest of this stuff »
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…
Read the rest of this stuff »
Forthwith, I present the March 2016 wine product roundup, this time on time, but only juuuuust!
This month, I’ve got two items from the sample pool to present, one of them a bit of a miss, the other potentially a hit (in both the it-totally-works and the painful-punch-to-the-gut senses of the word, which will make more sense in a minute or two).
Dialing it up? (image: sponti.com)
In terms of the near-miss, we have Sponti’s Catalyst Ultimate Wine Server, which as far as I can discern is not yet available for purchase. The idea behind the Catalyst is a combination of wine pourer and aerator, only the aeration is adjustable thanks to a nifty little dial on the back of the pourer.
As a pourer, the Catalyst works as well as any similar in-bottle-pourer, minimizing post-pouring-action dripping. As an aerator, I get decidedly mixed results from the thing. The adjustment of the dial is easy, but I had two issues with that: 1) the lower settings seemed to do very little in terms of actually impacting the aromas and flavors of the wines on which I tried it, and 2) it’s easy to go a bit wild and end up turning the dial so far that you loosen it entirely (adding a simple plastic notch in the design might prevent this, but might complicate cleaning the unit if it prevented the dial from being removed).
It’s easy to clean, but its plastic design also feels a bit on the cheap side. I’d have to wait and see the final price, but generally speaking I think more works needs to be done to tweak this item.
Now, onto the Potent Hit portion of this month’s round-up…
Read the rest of this stuff »
In the words of the Violent Femmes, “it’s just a habit.”
Seriously, this late-monthly-product-review thing is becoming a bit embarrassing. But late again I am, because, well, my life is kind of bonkers. Awesome, but bonkers.
Anyway, today I present my take on another wine product sample, a take that was technically meant to be published last month, but technically I got all, like, too busy an’ stuff.
This last month, I gave a sample of the Tribella wine aerator (about $40) the once-over. Tribella is the brain-child of Skip Lei, who wrote to me that the product is an attempt to “complete the circuit of beauty from the bottle to the glass; My simple goal was to make the wine the hero, not some device.”
Simple, maybe, but loftily stated.
At this point, you might be almost as sick of wine aerator products as I am, but the Tribella actually has quite a bit going for it. First and foremost, this portable little ditty meets Lei’s primary aim, which he expressed was to create an aerator that “allows the existing wine to naturally catch a breath.” The product does a very good job of aerating wine without subsequently beating the living hell out of the juice.
While in its case it looks like a medical blood-drawing instrument from straight out of from the Alien movies, once inserted into the neck of a wine bottle the petite Tribella takes on a much more aesthetically-pleasing air. It’s separation of the wine being poured into three streams is relatively quiet, effective, and almost hypnotic in appearance (think picturesque fountain waterfall). Even your kids will think it’s cool. It’s also sturdy, and the non-drip pouring action is a nice bonus.
The best thing about it? It might be the dead-easiest wine aerator to clean. Rinse it in tap water, and you’re done.
The bad news? It costs forty bucks. To me, that seems a bit too steep for this nifty little gadget, as much as I’ve come to enjoy using it. But the bottom line? The Tribella delivers, even if expensively.