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- A Tale of Two Conferences
- Cats and Dogs Blogging Together
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- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
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- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- How Critics Taste Wines - Glassware
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
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- How Critics Taste Wines - On Blind Tasting
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- Robert Parker's Advice to Wine Writers
Most Read Articles
4 Great Gifts for Wine Collectors
- General Interest
- Written by Fred Swan
- Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:50
Finding great gifts for wine collectors can be a challenge. Giving wine is dicey since collectors are often very particular. Instead, choose something which shows you support their love of wine and went the extra mile to learn what serious collectors can really use but may not have.
Durand - The Very Best Corkscrew for Aged Wines
There’s one thing all prized, old bottles of wine have in common, old corks. They can be a real problem.
Some corks break into pieces when you try to pull them with a regular corkscrew. Others aren’t solid enough to hold onto the screw. Those problems can be solved with an ah-so, a device with two flat prongs that slide between the cork and bottle. Sometimes the the ah-so just pushes the cork into the bottle though.
The Durand is a corkscrew and ah-so in one. The screw holds the cork while the two metal prongs secure it from the sides. No more broken, crumbled or lost corks! $125
Coravin - Pour Wines by the Glass Without Removing the Cork
Sometimes you want to taste a wine, but not drink the whole bottle. You can reseal an opened bottle, but you still have to finish it within a day or so. Coravin lets you extract as much wine as you want without removing the cork.
The Coravin system inserts a hollow needle of surgical steel through the cork. Then it pushes inert, food-safe argon gas into the bottle. This allows the wine to flow and also keeps oxygen out of the bottle.
It sounds complicated but is easy to use. And it really works. Sommeliers, wine bars and collectors love it. See my full Coravin review here. $299
The Wine Check - The Safe, Convenient Way to Fly with Wine
Serious wine lovers like taking their own wine with them on vacation and bringing bottles back from overseas winery visits. The Wine Check is the best way to check a case of wine as luggage.
The Wine Check's internal box has 12 individual styrofoam cavities which isolate bottles from both cold and heat while also protecting against breakage. The outer bag is tough, water-resistant and has wheels and a pull strap for easy mobility. There's a large, flat pocket which is perfect for holding winery brochures and a corkscrew.
I get a lot of use out of mine, and not just for domestic and international flights. I take it with me when I drive to wine country so the bottles I buy don’t get hot sitting in the car. (If you like a one-stop shop, you can also buy The Durand in The Wine Check’s online store.) $75
Travelwell 12-Bottle Limo - an Excellent, Compact Carrier for Local Travel
I received Travelwell Polyester Bottle Limo 12 Bottle Wine Case as a gift myself and am very happy with it. It holds 12 bottles, but half of the padded dividers are movable so you can carry odd-shaped bottles or use the carrier as a cooler. The bag is well-constructed with a sturdy, telescoping handle and a pair of smoothly-rolling wheels on each back corner. There are big, flat pockets on both sides and another one in front with slots for cards, etc.
The compact design—half the size of The Wine Check—is very convenient. I wouldn't suggest using it as checked luggage though. There's not enough padding and insulation for that. The telescoping handle would be liable to get damaged too. $78.25