Wine Accessories Worth The Money | SLMan
Wine Accessories That Are Worth The Money
PHOTO BY 'ELLE HUGHES' FROM PEXELS
Charlie Stein is director of wine at the Rick Stein group of restaurants. Over the years he’s built an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject and learnt to distinguish between the accessories you need and those you don’t. From glasses and decanters to surprisingly affordable gadgets, here are nine things he says will help you to really enjoy your next bottle…

Le Creuset Wine Cooler Sleeve, £22

Once the weather warms up and we’re allowed to meet other people outdoors, this sleeve will be an essential piece of wine kit. Ideal for all your picnicking needs, it’ll keep a bottle cool for hours. Stick it in the freezer, wrap it around a bottle of Bollinger and get socialising. I've been through dozens of these watching the cricket at Lord’s, invariably leaving them under my seat as I zig-zag out of the ground.
 
Available here

Coravin Model Three, £199

The ultimate gizmo for drinking in moderation, a Coravin allows you to pour a glass of wine without opening the bottle. Developed by a nuclear scientist who makes medical equipment, it uses a needle to pierce down into the cork to access and pour the wine, leaving behind a spray of inert gas to sit over the space at the top, which stops oxygen from getting into the bottle. Great for when you want to open a bottle but not drink the whole thing, I use this when I want a small glass of something special at the beginning of the week.
 
Available here

Wine Drop Stopping Pouring Discs, £7.59

Drop stops are incredible. They’re small metal discs you roll up and pop into the top of a bottle of to stop drops spilling out. Most are inexpensive and reusable – just give them a quick rinse and store them away for later use. They’re particularly good for red wine as they stop those dreaded drips spilling over your dinner guests and tablecloth. Eco-friendly and affordable, they’re a win-win in my book.
 
Available here

Zalto Burgundy Glasses, £40 Each

Hand blown in Austria, these paper-thin crystal wine glasses by Zalto are some of the best I’ve come across. Perfect for maximising the aroma, flavour and texture of your favourite wine, they will make your go-to bottle taste even better. Zalto’s entire collection is excellent – check out its full range of wine glasses and champagne flutes. With these ones, the glass is super thin, so be extra careful when running them through the dishwasher.
 
Available here

Waiter’s Friend Corkscrew, £7.50

When it comes to corkscrews, it doesn’t get much better than a Waiter’s Friend – my preferred gadget for opening a bottle. There are loads on the market, with most coming in at under £20, and they will last you for years. This one from Harvey Nichols has a soft-grip handle, a self-sharpening serrated blade for removing foil capsules, a beer or tonic bottle opener, and a patented lever that makes removing even the tightest of wine corks easy. Keep one in the kitchen and another in your back pocket so you’re always ready.
 
Available here

Zalto Denk Art Axium Crystal Wine Decanter, £87.50

Zalto makes my favourite decanters. The super-thin glass makes wine look amazing and the bottle itself will look great on any dining table. It’s ideal for aerating red wine – you’ll really notice the difference in the flavour notes. This decanter has also been made with some savvy dimensions – the curves of the bowls are tilted at the angles of 24º, 48º and 72º, in accordance with the tilt angles of the Earth – ancient Greeks and Romans found that using these angles helped produce stay fresher for longer and taste better.
 
Available here

Le Creuset WA 143 Aerator & Pourer, £16.50

This combined aerator and pourer is a great option if you don’t want to splash out on a Coravin. Simply slip it into the bottle neck for instant aeration that unlocks flavour and depth. A central breathing hole increases air flow, while a drip-free edge makes pouring easy. A great little gadget if you don’t have a decanter, it’s a handy tool you’ll use for years.
 
Available here

Le Nez du Vin Wine Aroma Kit, £309.53

If you want to take your wine really seriously, this is the ultimate accessory. The Wine Aroma Kit has a set of 54 aromas in small glass bottles that teach you how to smell and memorise different flavours so you can build up your tasting skills. You can ‘inhale’ the individual flavours and compare them directly to any wine you’re tasting. Each essence comes with a card with all the important info on the most common aromas. With some practice, your sense of smell will be so keen that you’ll be able to identify the various aromas easily. This one makes a great gift.
 
Available here

Laguiole En Aubrac Champagne Sabre Rosewood Handle, £154.95

Sabrage was popularised in Napoleonic times as a way for the French cavalry to celebrate a victory. The horsemen would use their sabre swords to chop the top off champagne bottles after a battle. This also feels like a fitting and theatrical way to mark the end of lockdown. The trick is to get the neck of the bottle very cold, then place your sword's blunt edge at 20º from the neck, and follow through with a grand motion. Make sure you’re outside and pointing the bottle away from your guests.
 
Available here

Champagne Bottle Stopper, £4.95

Hate to break it to you, but the old wives’ tale about sticking a spoon in your champagne to stop it losing its fizz doesn’t actually work. If, for some very odd reason, you find you can’t drink a whole bottle of champagne in one go, then these stoppers are your best bet for keeping the fizz alive. Simply split one onto the top of the bottle to make your champagne, prosecco or cava last longer.
 
Available here

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