The wine accessories that you really do need
To an outsider the world of wine can seem like a confusing place, with weird terminology, strange rituals and a seemingly large amount of equipment needed to enjoy a glass of your favourite vino.
So if you’re wondering what wine accessories you really do need, or maybe you’re looking for a present for that wine lover who has everything this Christmas, here is the definite guide to wine accessories.
There’s a lot of rubbish spouted about wine, but where and how you store your wine is actually very important. Wine needs to be stored at a constant temperature, around 10-15 degrees is ideal for both reds and whites, but any spot where the temperature remains stable and isn’t boiling hot or freezing cold will suffice for most people. Under the stairs is usually a good option if you don’t have a cellar and are storing everyday wines.
Bottles should also be stored laying down to help keep the corks damp and stop them drying out and shrinking (and letting air in). A wine rack is a must if you are planning on keeping a few bottles.
If you’ve got the cash and the space, and are thinking about investing in pricier bottles of wine, for example older vintages, another option for storing wine is a wine fridge or cabinet. These beauties provide the perfect conditions and the optimum temperature and humidity for long term storage of fine wines.
One of the attractions of drinking wine is the theatre of choosing and opening a bottle. Whether you go for a dramatic sabrage (opening Champagne with a sabre) or a trusty corkscrew, there are lots of options for opening your bottle of wine, whether it’s your favourite midweek plonk or a Grand Cru.
The first thing you need is a foil cutter, this great little implement lets you expertly and neatly take the foil off of a bottle (and ensures you look like you know what you’re doing!).
There are a few different types of opener, a lever type corkscrew is undoubtedly the easiest way to open a bottle without any drama and ensures you don’t have to spend ages fishing bits of cork out of your wine. They do tend to be a bit pricier than your average corkscrew, but are a worthwhile investment if you’re getting into your wine.
A common or garden corkscrew will do the job, just make sure you buy the best you can afford. No one wants to be let down just as they’re opening that bottle you’ve been saving for ages!
If you’re serving vintage port or older vintages of wine, like those from Bordeaux, that throw a sediment, a decanter is a vital bit of kit to remove the sediment before serving. A decanter may seem a touch pretentious for everyday wine, but trust us, a lot of wines, especially reds, benefit from being decanted.
Decanting helps to get more air into the wine, opening them up, softening the tannins and allowing the flavours to be released. Generally speaking, the fuller the body, the larger the base of your decanter needs to be, as this increases the amount of oxygen reaching the wine.
With mature wines though, favour a decanter with a narrow shape to limit exposure to harmful oxygen yet leave the sediment behind.
Try it next time, you’ll definitely thank us!
After you’ve opened your wine, it’s time to pour and which glass you use definitely makes a difference. A flute is used for Champagne as it helps to preserve the bubbles, while a smaller bowled glass is great for light white wine as it concentrates the aromas and helps to keep the wine cool.
When it comes to red wines, the size of the glass depends on the style of the wine. For example, if you’re drinking a rich, full bodied red like a new world Cabernet Sauvignon, a wider bowl helps the wine to taste smoother and helps the ethanol to burn off due to the larger surface area. If you’re drinking a delicate red, like a Pinot Noir, a big bowled glass with a narrower opening helps to collect and elevate the aromas.
If you’d like to explore some funky accessories to help you enjoy your wine all the more, winebuyers.com has a great selection with everything you need to store, pour and enjoy your favourite bottles.