Before you can appreciate a wine you have to open it. In times past, that meant pulling a cork from a glass bottle. Not so much today.
In broad terms, wine comes in four container-closure packages: can, box, screw top, cork.
• Canned wine is a recent trend. It requires no special tool, is easily recyclable, safe around pools, one serving in a can. Open using pull tab, same as a beer can.
• Boxed wine has been around for a while, but in recent years has moved from cheap plonk—although it still dominates that niche—to higher quality. You have to mess with the box and spigot, but once done, pouring is easy and the wine can last for a month or more if stored in a refrigerator.
• Screw tops also once indicated cheap wine. Not any more. Many quality wines, especially whites or reds intended to be consumed young, come with screw tops. Opening is easy. Grasp the top in one hand, twist the bottle with the other hand.
• Corks, either natural or man-made, remain the most common closure, glass bottles the most common container. Opening presents an array of methods. The simplest and least expensive is the best—the double-hinged “waiter’s friend.”
Operation is easy. Use its serrated knife to cut the foil below the lip on the bottle. The sommelier technique is to cut halfway around, cut the other half going the opposite way, then cut up to the center of the cork. The foil comes off cleanly. Or, you can take a sharp knife, slice up from the base of the foil, and remove the entire capsule.
Next, insert the spiral screw into the center of the closure and execute six half turns, which will leave one spiral out of the cork. Use the first lever to begin to pull the cork—this requires the most effort. Then move to the full lever to almost remove the cork. Finish by easing the cork out by hand. Voilà, time to appreciate the wine.
• Zardetto Z Prosecco Brut NV: Inviting, fruity, classic, clean, crisp expression of prosecco from major maker. $11-17 Link to my review
• Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc, California 2019: Excellent intro to sauv blanc. Easy drinker, especially for a sauv blanc. $13-15 Link to my review
• Hamel Family Wines Isthmus 2017: Superb effort from conscientious, skilled family team of vine farmers and winemakers. $85-95 Link to my review
Last round: Getting older has benefits. I now drink wine with my kids instead of because of them.
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