|$10 Decanter from Home Goods|
Tools of the trade
Just a quick introduction to basic tools when drinking and savoring a glass of wine. There are a million gadgets on the market, but there are really only a few items you need.
Why is glassware important? Well, the traditional wine glass has a long stem so the heat from your hand doesn't effect the temperature of the wine in your glass. Secondly, the size/shape of the bowl allows for red wine to "breathe," which is basically just exposure to the air. The longer a glass of red wine sits out, the more it oxidizes which can soften the tannins and make the wine smoother. The shape of the glass also allows you to effectively smell the aromas of the wine more efficiently. Depending on the occasion, stemless glasses are awesome because they have a decreased chance of someone knocking it over and shattering your glass.
Well this one is obvious...how else would we get the good stuff out of the bottle? Some wine bottles come with screw tops, and no this doesn't mean it's not a quality wine, so a corkscrew wouldn't be necessary. The other bottles on the market come with real cork, or synthetic corks...the kind of corkscrew you use is optional. I prefer the electric variety or the lever style. When I travel, I never forget to pack my travel corkscrew. Sometimes you will find that a cork will fall apart when you put the corkscrew in it...possibly due to age. This doesn't necessarily mean the wine is bad, but how can you get the cork out to test out the wine? Easy. Push the cork into the wine...even if there are bits of cork everywhere. Then you can drape a cheesecloth over the top of the bottle to filter the wine when you pour the wine out. If you don't know how to use a regular corkscrew, here is a how to video from Wine Enthusiast.
There are so many different varieties of Decanters ranging from 10 bucks to hundreds of dollars. I bought my decanter from Home Goods for 10 bucks, and it looks great and gets the job done. I don't need a fancy crystal lead decanter, glass is just fine.
The purpose behind a decanter is to separate the wine from the sediment. Not all wine has sediment, but there are times when sediment is present, and no one likes to find it at the bottom of their glass...or in their mouth. Another use for decanters is to let wine breathe. Generally this is done with red wines to allow flavors and aromas to open up, and for tannins to soften...but they can be utilized with white wine as well.
The aerator does just what the name says. There are a few different kinds, ones you can put on top of the bottle and ones you put over your glass...but the results are the same. The wine is allowed to be exposed to air as it funnels through the aerator, which oxidizes the wine.
Completely optional tool. This basic tool cuts the foil from the top of the wine bottle in order to remove the cork. I have one and I used it...but scissors or a knife works just as well. Sometimes if you just grab the whole foil, you can pull it clean off the bottle with little force.
Love these little guys. I have these which definitely help to identify who has which glass. These are also not necessary.
These are optional as well, but I find that the bottle stoppers are useful, especially ones that remove air from the bottle. This helps keep the wine fresher longer, because now we know that air oxidizes the wine.
So my list of must haves are:
You can't go wrong with these tools if you're a wine drinker. A wineglass instead of a plastic cup can mean the world of a difference when drinking wine. On top of that, a decanter can allow you to buy a cheaper wine, and with a bit of aeration help the wine taste much smoother.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or comments below :)