Articles Tagged wine product review
This month’s wine product review roundup requires you to get your reading glasses, as we’re taking a look at two upcoming wine reference book releases, one of them tiny (and insanely useful), the other heavy and large (and maybe a lot less useful).
First up is the venerable Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine, 2018 edition (Mitchell Beazley, 336 pages, about $17). This tiny marvel is updated annually, and at this point I struggle to say anything about it that I’ve not already said in my usual yearly boot-lickingly obnoxious recommendation of this mighty mini-tome. No wine reference book series even comes close to packing as much utility into such a small package, and doing it so consistently. That I know so may of the contributors probably only makes my endorsement seem even more boot-lickingly boot-licking, but that won’t stop me from highly recommending it. Again.
In the interests of offering a balanced appraisal, I will say that the supplemental material in last year’s 2017 40th Anniversary edition is, in my view, superior to this most recent release; so if you own that one already, you may want to skip this one and see what the 2018 edition has to offer.
Next up is a new edition of the much larger, heavier, and visually impressive Larousse Wine (Hamlyn, 656 pages, about $60). Headed by technical consultant Master Sommelier Georges Lepré, with a team of contributors that are primarily French-based or French-wine-focused, you’d think that a book with 800 photographs and 37 maps would be insanely useful. And you’d be half right…
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Due to family vacationing, I’m getting a slight jump start on the monthly wine product review roundup (I’ve got plenty of wine coverage coming, so don’t worry your pretty little inebriated heads over that, ok?). And, thankfully, I’ve got two fairly-priced wine preservation gadgets from the sample pool that are absolutely worthy of your (sober) consideration.
First up is the ingenious little Repour Wine Saver (a 4 Pack runs about $9). The Repour is the brain child of chemist Tom Lutz, and employs similar oxygen-absorbing tech used in the produce industry. The idea is that the slightly top-heavy but also non-toxic repour is used in place of the bottle’s original closure after opening, and chemicals in the Repour attract most of the oxygen in the bottle, thus prolonging the life of any wine you have left over in the bottle. Effectiveness is, naturally, reduced the longer you leave the bottle unstopped, and the more open space that’s left in the bottle, etc.
The Repour was run through some independent lab tests, has the nod from some sommeliers and wine pros, and in my limited experience works, almost too well, causing some of the wines I “Repoured” to close up temporarily. The only real drawback is that the Repour is a one-and-done product (you basically use one per bottle) and needs to be discarded after each bottle is finished. It will definitely get you several extra days of drinking from an open bottle of vino; the company claims that you can get up to a month, but anyone who is doing that either doesn’t known how to sell wine (in on premise settings) or doesn’t know how to drink it (in consumer settings)…
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In this too-steamy month’s round up of non-drinkable wine product samples, I’ve got two items to highlight that I can recommend without nary a reservation; and for me, when it comes to putting wine products to the test, that’s the wine scribe’s equivalent of a tall, cold glass of Soave on a hot Summer’s day.
First up is one of the Wall Mounted Wine Racks by Ultra Wine Racks (about $75); they sent me the 3ft x 1 (wine bottle) deep version, but there are several configurations from which you can choose (though the options that are multiple bottles “deep” are probably best employed in retail, restaurant, or wine cellar/storage spaces).
The bottom line is that these mostly-metal wall-mounted puppies are well-made, sturdy, and look great once installed (note that the larger you go on these racks, the more important it will be to find a stud on which to mount them… holy crap, that whole sentence fragment sounds mildly, obnoxiously sexual, doesn’t it?). Installation is relatively straightforward, but will definitely require a level, and will go much faster if you have a second person (ask me how I know) to help stabilize the racks when positioning them for the mounts, etc.
What I liked most about the Ultra Wine Rack kit was that, with the exceptions of a drill and a screwdriver, it comes with everything that you need to install and maintain it, including anchors, spare parts, and even a screwdriver drill bit, just in case. If you’re in the market for combining wine storage with some crowing/showing-off of special bottles as a side benefit, then you should take a serious look at these…
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And you thought that I’d forgotten about the monthly wine product sample round up here, didn’t you?
C’mon… admit it…
The handsome Barvivio lineup
This month, I’ve got two wine gadgets to mention, both of which are technically multi-purpose, and both of which are well worth a look. Unfortunately, only one of them is what I would consider an over-achiever for the price, but neither are going to sentence you to a fiscal future full of cat food eating in the dark.
First up is the Barvivo waiter’s friend style corkscrew. Some of you will recall that I mentioned this little well-made beauty about two years ago, and since receiving that product sample it has become my go-to, most-used corkscrew here at Chateau Dude. The Barvivo folks recently added new handle designs to their lineup, including ebony, a handful (see what I did there?) of resin options, and (my personal fave), Bai Ying wood. Thankfully, they didn’t mess with the overall design, quality, or (somewhat miraculously) the bizarrely low price. I still find it incredible that this thing is so dependable and yet will set you back only about $13. I’ve no idea how they manage that, and frankly, I’m not sure that I want to know how they manage that. And yes, the corkscrew is multipurpose, since it’s also technically a bottle opener…
And next, we have Corkcicle’s 25oz Canteen. At about $35, this isn’t cheap. But nothing about this effective canteen is cheap. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Corkcicle’s more famous wine chiller product, in that I love to hate the damned thing; I never, ever use it, and I keep it in the house only so that I can point it at people and say “Harrrrrryyyy Potterrrrrrr” in a frightening British accent. But it’s the opposite scenario with their canteen; I kind of love this thing. It’s solidly built, does a bang-up job of keeping its contents cold or hot (not just wine, of course – multipurpose, beeeeatches!) for what seems ridiculously long periods of time, and is just the right size for holding an entire bottle of wine. It’s not exactly cooler-friendly material, but then this thing basically is the cooler.