Friday, 17 January 2014 12:50

A Wine Occassion

By John Reardon | Home & Garden
Hello my Foodie Friends! My good friend Nick makes his own wine and it is delicious! Nick has a tradition of stopping by the store every holiday with a bottle of his special wine to share with Paula and I. Of course there is no shortage of wine openers at Compliments to the Chef and we always quickly open the bottle to try a glass. The last time we did this I took a sip of my glass and a customer requested an All-Clad fry pan from a high shelf. When I took it down with my free hand it brought many other pans came crashing down and broke a glass shelf. For the record, I only had one sip! But opening up a bottle of wine can be easy or it could be hard depending on your tools. A Short Course In Wine Openers The earliest corkscrew dates back several centuries when corks were first used as bottle-stoppers. The basic corkscrew is a spiral wire (called a “worm”) with a handle attached. The worm is turned into the cork, which is removed by pulling the handle up. The drawback of the basic corkscrew is that it provides no leverage. The cork must be pulled out by brute force, often with great difficulty. Subsequently mankind’s ingenuity went to work improving on the basic corkscrew. In the U.S. alone hundreds of corkscrew patents were filed in the 19th century. (At the time corks were used as stoppers in bottles of whiskey, olive oil and other liquids as well as wine.) By 1900, three effective designs had emerged that still account for the great majority of corkscrews in use today. The Bartender’s Corkscrew: This design uses a fulcrum that engages the top edge of the wine bottle, to give leverage to the handle when pulling the cork. It’s called the bartender’s or waiter’s corkscrew because it can be folded and carried in the pocket. It requires a sure hand and a lot of practice, however, to master its use. An easy tool to pack for trips or camping. Warning: don’t put it in your carry-on luggage! TheWing Corkscrew: This type is named for the handles on each side rise like wings when the worm is turned into the cork. After full insertion, the handles are pulled down to leverage the cork out. While a wing-type corkscrew will work well enough on some corks, its design requires a thick, augur-like metal worm, which can crumble or even destroy a fragile cork. This one is one of the most popular ones but not the best. The Self-Pulling Corkscrew: More than a century old, this design consists of a basic corkscrew fitted into a guide. After the worm has been inserted into the cork, the user continues turning in the same direction, and the “stop” action of the guide forces the cork to pull itself out. (Thus “self-pulling”.) With a metal worm, the friction between the cork and worm make the self-pulling action difficult for most corks, impossible for tight ones. It was not until 1978 that Herbert Allen, a Texan oil expert who applied his drilling knowledge, solved this problem. By using a Teflon coating on the worm, Allen reduced the friction between the cork and worm so dramatically that the self-pulling action became almost effortless. His new corkscrew design was soon recognized as the most effective device yet for pulling a cork. The ultimate cork-pulling machine—The Rabbit Corkscrew: the same man, Herbert Allen who perfected the self-pulling corkscrew, invented the original device of this type. A company called “Metrokane” applied similar mechanical principles to develop the Rabbit Corkscrew, which was introduced in 2000. The Rabbit has two gripping handles that latch onto the top of a wine bottle and a top handle that drives the corkscrew into the cork and pops it out in three seconds flat. With another quick movement of the top handle the cork is ejected from the corkscrew. The Rabbit is comprised of 31 separate parts assembled into a powerful, high-tech tool. Its ergonomic design and velvet feel make it a pleasure to operate. Whatever you choose to use they will all do the job! If you need help using one of these tools stop in to see me with your bottle of wine and I will gladly open it for you! Remember, “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Take Care, John and Paula
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