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Posts Tagged ‘wine accessories’

To Cork, Bag, or Seal Another Way?

January 24th, 2012 No comments

In 2011, over 60% of the most popular domestic wine brands were sealed with natural cork.  This statistic comes from the Cork Quality Council, a Napa-based organization.  Based on surveys of A.C. Nielsen data, the executive director of the Quality Cork Council, Peter Weber, claims that there has been “a sharp increase in the sale of wine sealed with cork.”  He further comments that there is “unwavering consumer preference for natural cork” and that there are “emerging problems with alternative closures.”  Although the majority of popular wines in 2011 were sealed with cork, note that a great number of popular wines were also sealed by other means (under 40%)!  And just because a wine is sealed with a cork does not make it “better” than a wine sealed with a screw cap.  The same is true of boxed wine. That said, the top bottles will probably continue to be sealed with natural corks for years to come. Tradition and time-tested methods persist strongly in the wine world!

While these “alternative closures” can pose difficulties (screw caps can trap excess gasses that naturally pass through and out of cork, synthetic corks can become difficult to remove after a few years, traces of plastic that makes contact with the wine can be ingested, etc.), a lot of popular wine is packaged with them.  The natural vs. synthetic cork debate will probably continue for many, many years.

The Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener with Hardwood Handle & Table Stand

The Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener

Why choose natural cork?  Possibly because of tradition, to take home a cork as “souvenir” of a meal or special occasion, to remember a particular wine, to use in a craft project, etc. Cork is also a renewable resource, and, of course, biodegradeable.

Why choose screw caps or boxes?  For convenience; if you’re on the go, no corkscrew is needed, and bottles can easily be capped to prevent spillage.  Boxed wine will “keep” on a trip, and it pours easily.

What works best for long-term storage?  Not boxed wine.  (If your box has a “boxed on” date, you should drink it within a year of that date.)  Screw caps or corks?  The verdict is still out, and even the experts cannot agree.  This usually means you’re pretty safe either way.  To solve the “hard to open” issue, if you’re opening a corked wine, no matter what the “cork” is made of, try using a Rogar Champion pewter-plated wine opener. This elegant, timeless piece makes opening any wine a breeze.  You can uncork (and even recork) a wine bottle in under a second.  No matter the material of your cork, a good opener like this is nice to have on hand.  Corks of some material will likely be a part of the future of most wine for many, many years.

What are your thoughts? Do you buy “alternatively sealed” wines? Would you ever consider them for aging, or are they strictly “table wine”?

The Importance of Champagne Flutes

January 3rd, 2012 No comments

Did you ring in the New Year with a flute of Champagne? Honestly, we wouldn’t blame you for hiding your nice flutes from rowdy NYE party-goers, but for quieter occasions there’s no substitute for a lovely flute.

Aside from simply looking elegant, drinking from the right glass enhances your experience of the wine.  Because Champagne and sparkling wines are served chilled, it’s very easy for the heat of your hands to warm them prematurely.  Champagne flutes with long stems allow your beverage to stay cool longer because your hand makes contact with the stem of the glass; it does not cup the wine itself.  Furthermore, the bowl of the glass is specifically crafted to maximize your beverage’s bubbles; the opening is narrow, meaning the surface area is reduced, which makes the bubbles last longer.

A Riedel Champagne Glass

A Riedel Champagne Glass

While Champagne saucers are frequently found at wedding celebrations, their large surface area causes bubbles to dissipate rather quickly.  While this may be okay for sweeter sparkling wines, these saucers tend not to do justice to the more-common, drier ones.  Some people also prefer to drink sparkling wine from regular white wine glasses (mainly for the benefit of experiencing its nose.)  Usually, however, good Champagne glasses, like a set of the Riedel Wine Collection Champagne glasses will be perfect for your sparkling beverage.  If you’ve got a good wine, why not use a good glass to enjoy it to the fullest?  Shall we toast?

Chardonnay Clam Sauce

October 27th, 2011 No comments

Here’s a simple and delicious clam sauce recipe that’s perfect for pasta, and perfect for the fall.  You’ll need:

Hands holding Littleneck Clams

Littleneck Clams, image from Wikipedia

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is usually best)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Fresh, Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Chardonnay
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper
  • 8 to 12 Fresh Clams in Shells (or a can of baby clams)
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh, Chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 Lb. Pasta (I use linguine, cooked as directed on the package)
  • Shaved Asiago Cheese, to Taste
WineKeeper--Napa 4 Bottle

WineKeeper--Napa 4 Bottle

Before cooking your linguine/pasta, steam your fresh clams until their shells open; this is the sign that they’re cooked and ready.  (If using canned clams, there’s no need to steam.)  Prepare your linguine/pasta according to the package’s instructions.  When the pasta is almost finished cooking, combine the butter, olive oil, and garlic in a skillet.  Melt the butter, and saute the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add your Chardonnay, and pour in a little residual clam juice, if desired (about 1/4 cup from the bottom of your steamed pot of clams, or from the can).  Reduce temperature to low, and cook for 1 minute.  Add clams and parsley, heating them for another minute.  Put the cooked linguine/pasta on a plate, and cover it with this sauce.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, evenly distributed, then cover with shredded Asiago cheese, according to taste.  Enjoy, and don’t forget to serve the rest of the Chardonnay with the meal!  If you choose to have another wine in its place, don’t waste your Chardonnay; use The Keeper Wine Preservation System, or the Napa 4 bottle WineKeeper dispenser and preserver unit to save the rest for another time.  Enjoy!

Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Openers

August 17th, 2011 No comments

Pewter Wine Opener w/ Evergreen Granite Handle and Table Stand

Want to add a bit of elegance to your wine tasting or dinner presentation?  Consider a gorgeous Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener with Evergreen Granite Handle & Table Stand.  These luxurious wine openers, first produced in 1897, are still as popular today.  In fact, their timeless design, faithfully copied from the original model, is unique in the fact that it “works” splendidly well with both traditional and modern interiors.  What is more, the base, made from die-cast metal, is available in three finishes to match your furnishings.

For another version of this classic, consider the Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener with White Wave Granite Handle & Table Stand.

Both of these regal openers come with matching table stands, too, so whether used in the kitchen, den, or dining room, these tasteful and durable openers can be moved easily to add exceptional grace and class to your wine opening.

 

Musical Wine Glasses

July 22nd, 2011 1 comment
Benjamin Franklin playing on the glass harmonica

Image courtesy of violinstudent.com

When was the last time you ran a moistened finger along the rim of a crystal wine glass, making it sing?  Perhaps, after reading this post, you’ll give it a try tonight! Concerts of “glass music” produced by this same technique used to be all the rage in Europe.  There were even performers, like the blind Marianne Kirchgessner, with entire careers that consisted of playing musical glasses.  Benjamin Franklin, after attending such concerts in London, invented and perfected the “Glass Harmonica,” an instrument made of concentric glasses mounted on a rod, turned by a treadle, the size of each glass determining its pitch.  Touching the rims of the turning glasses produced audible notes, and several glasses could even be touched simultaneously to produce chords.  Although it was something of a novelty instrument, many prominent composers wrote music for it, including Beethoven and Mozart.  In fact, Mozart’s Adagio for Glass Harmonica, K.365, is one of the last pieces Mozart composed. But, like the clear beverage craze in the early 1990’s that faded by the middle of the decade, the glass harmonica’s popularity came to an end around 1815, with few instruments built after 1820.  Today, there are special manufactures who do make glass harmonicas, but professional glass harmonica players are very rare.  Still, the ethereal, haunting, otherworldly sound of the glass harmonica can be heard in several films, including Interview with the Vampire,  Mesmer,  Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and popular recordings like Björk’s “All Neon Like”.  If you want to know what this instrument sounds like, all you need to do is run your finger across the rim of a wine glass.  Crystal wine glasses, like those produced by Riedel, often work best.  Be sure, however, that you use a glass with a stem, otherwise the hand holding the glass will stop the tone.  Have fun!

Riedel Wine Collection Shiraz/Syrah Wine Glasses

ETL-Certified Monterey WineKeepers: The Safest Way to Preserve & Dispense Wine

July 18th, 2011 No comments

ETL Product logo

Several of Vintage Cellars’ products are ETL-certified (see our Education Center article about ETL for more information about the certification), but three of the new Monterey WineKeeper products are our first WineKeeper Wine Preservers & Dispensers to be tested and approved by Intertek‘s Electrical Testing Labs!

Feel confident that our Monterey 4-Bottle ETL WineKeeper, Monterey 8-Bottle ETL WineKeeper, and Monterey 12-Bottle ETL WineKeeper offer the safest way to preserve and dispense wine in your restaurant or bar. These products can cool several bottles of wine at once and they make dispensing both reds and whites a snap, especially during parties or wine tasting events. Monterey ETL WineKeepers keep your wine tasting fresh for weeks, so you never have to worry when you’re too tired for more than a single glass of wine before bed, and they reduce the risk of you filling up your fridge with half-consumed bottles.

So, consider an ETL-Certified Monterey WineKeeper. You’ll know that Intertek independently tested it for safety, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how perfect each and every glass of wine will taste and feel.

ETL Magnum 12 Bottle Wine Keeper

Visit Vintage Cellars’ Wine Storage Education Center!

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Wine Cellar

Have a question about how wine cooling systems work?  Wondering about the similarities and differences between various wine racks and wine racking kits?  Need help choosing the right wine cabinet for your needs and living space?  Perhaps you simply want to learn more about how wine preservation systems work to keep your open bottles as fresh as possible?  Now is the time to take advantage of Vintage Cellars’ own Wine Storage Education Center.  Packed with information about these topics, plus additional information pertaining to various wines, opening and serving wine, wine cellars, humidity control, thermoelectric and vapor compression cooling, the science of aging wine, wine glasses, decanters, and much more, the Wine Storage Education Center is your source for information concerning all things wine-related.  With technical, historical, and even scientific articles,  you’re bound to come away learning something new about the wine you love.  And perhaps you’ll be inspired to try some of the tips you read at home?

  • An example of a versatile article that covers much ground is Stephanie Warren’s The Science of Wine Aging.  In this engaging composition, Stephanie succinctly provides a brief history of wine aging, delves into the chemistry of wine aging discussing compounds like esters and tannins, explains how oxidation impacts wine, and reveals the ideal conditions in which wines age the best.  That’s quite a bit!
  • Wine Opener: A step-by-step article on how to properly present and open a bottle of wine at the table.
  • In Decanters & Decanting, decanting procedures are discussed in detail along with how decanting varies for wines of various ages, how quickly to serve wines after decanting, etc.

The Wine Storage Education Center is designed to be a valuable resource to enhance your wine enjoyment.  Visit often to learn about the latest developments in wine technology, as well as wine basics!

Decant, and Taste the Difference!

June 20th, 2011 No comments

In a previous post, Dine With Open Wine, we discussed some of the benefits of decanting wine.  While it’s one thing to read about what decanting does to a wine, experiencing it is another matter.  And what better way to experience the dramatic impact decanting has than to conduct your own comparison of decanted and non-decanted wine at home, or with a group of adventurous guests?  You’ll obviously need a good bottle of wine–try this with one of your favorites to really appreciate the effect–and a decanter such as the Riedel Cabernet Wine Decanter or, if you really want to impress, the Riedel Ultra Magnum Decanter.  Next, make sure the glasses you’re using match the wine you’re serving.  (For instance, don’t use white wine glasses if you’re pouring Merlot, etc.)  Wondering about the variety of wine glasses available? Check out our article on types of wine glasses in the Education Center. Ready to shop? We have a full line of Riedel glassware.

After you have selected your wine, open it and fill a set of glasses with it directly from the bottle.  Next, gingerly pour the remaining wine into the decanter of your choice.  (N.B. Most decanted wines begin to open in minutes, so it’s best to serve them shortly after decanting.)  Have your guests smell and taste their wine which came directly from the bottle.  Now, pour the decanted wine into a second set of glasses, and let your guests compare the boutique, taste, and finished of the decanted wine with that which was not decanted.  It’s a guarantee you’ll see many wide, pleasantly-surprised eyes!   While decanting will not make a “bad” wine into an instant winner, it will certainly enhance the appeal of average wines, and substantially augment the pleasure of exceptional wines.  Still not convinced?  Try hosting a decanting party and taste for yourself!  The reward is worth it!  For more detailed information about decanting, or other wine-related topics visit our Wine Storage Education Center online.  Happy decanting!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Golfers & Wine Lovers (and what dad isn’t one of those?)

June 17th, 2011 No comments

Dads deserve appreciation all the time, but it’s especially important to make Father’s Day the one day that your dad will remember forever—or, at least, until next June. And today, you’re in luck: if your dad is into sports or wine, you can sit back and let Vintage Cellars take the work out of shopping for the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Sporty Dads

mulholland leather golf bag

If your Dad spends most of his weekends on the golf course, check out our line of Mulholland Leather Bags and Golf Equipment. Help Dad relax and have fun with the Endurance Sunday Bag, an all-leather bag designed for the practice range, short-yardage courses, and casual games of weekend golf with buddies and brothers. Or, if he wouldn’t part with his current bag, a Golf Ball and Tee Holder might be a good bet. This beautiful piece holds three balls and four tees, and the leather loop and buckle allow Dad to easily attach it to his favorite golf bag.

If your father isn’t into golf, the All Leather Shoe Bag or Endurance Shoe Bag can be used to carry shoes for all sports: cleats for football or baseball, running sneakers, bowling shoes, or even wrestling and volleyball shoes. And, of course, both bags work well for golf shoes, too.

 

 

Wine-Loving Dads

Rogar Opener

If your father isn’t the most athletic of men, Vintage Cellars has you covered. Help Dad create a relaxing environment with our Rogar Estate Wine Opener with Antique Bronze Finish, Hardwood Handle, & Table Stand. This magnificent showpiece adds style to any wine room, kitchen, living room, or den. If Dad liked to keep things simple, our Rogar Estate Pewter Wine Opener would make a perfect addition to his wine accessory drawer. For other ideas, our complete collection of Rogar Accessories is worth a look.
Riedel O glass
If fancy wine openers aren’t Dad’s thing, try our Riedel “O” stemless glassware. The Complete Stemless Wine Glass Collection is a set of 12, each specially designed to enhance the flavors of a separate wine varietal. If Dad doesn’t need a large set, you can get him the set of 2 “O” wine glasses that is suited for his favorite wine, such as these”O” Cabernet/Merlot Stemless Wine Glasses.

If your dad’s perfect Father’s Day gift isn’t featured here, you can always contact us with questions as you browse the rest of our online catalog.

Happy Father’s Day from Vintage Cellars!

Look at Those (Wine) Legs!

June 8th, 2011 No comments

wine glass

With appropriately-matched, quality wine glasses like Riedel Sommelier Wine Glasses or Riedel Vinum Extreme Wine Glasses, it is not only easier to notice the characteristic fragrances and tastes of your selected wine, it is also easier to see the beauty of your delicate beverage.  With a clear wine glass, the clarity, color and depth of your wine are highlighted like never before, allowing you to more accurately judge your wine’s age, the types of grapes used in its making, and even the climate of the vintage.  You can even learn about your wine when swirling to open it.  When swirling, your wine will create “legs” (or, in the more poetic French, “tears”).  These are the small droplets that form in the ring above the surface of your wine while you swirl it.  It was once believed that the more legs a wine had, the better its quality.  However, this is untrue, as various atmospheric conditions (and physics!) have expunged this myth.   What is true is that the speed of falling legs can tell you about the wine’s sugar concentration and richness.  Generally, slower falling wine legs denote richer wines high in sugar content as opposed to thinner wines with less sugar.  Try examining the tears of both a sweet and a dry Riesling with Riedel Sommeliers Riesling Grand Cru Wine Glasses.  You’ll be in for an educational treat!  While aroma and taste play such an important part in wine appreciation, paying attention to appearance, too, greatly enhances the tasting experience.  In fact, visual cues can even suggest additional possibilities to your palate you may have initially filtered out!

Riedel Sommelier glasses