From ageing to tasting, wine requires certain essential accessories. To help you put together everything you will need to appreciate wine, the Club Baron de Lestac has chosen this selection of essential items.
To appreciate a bottle of wine, you must first open it: no corkscrew, no tasting. Although screw caps have gained some ground in recent years, natural cork remains the most widespread closure. Choose a quality corkscrew to remove the cork from your favourite bottles: the sommelier model is ideal. Efficient and easy to use, it features a blade for cutting the foil smoothly, a long screw to avoid cork breakage, and a double lever mechanism to extract the cork with minimum effort.
Drops of wine can stain an immaculate table cloth or spoil a wine label. Avoid this by simply using a drop stop: available in glass, steel, plastic, and in disc form.
A decanter is essential in order to expose the wine to the air and thus appreciate its full aromatic expression. As well as enhancing wine service, decanters are attractive objects whose elegant design and noble materials will grace your table. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes: as a rule, a wide-based decanter is better for young wines, while older vintages are better suited to a narrower shape.
Although usually only used for white wines, an ice bucket can also serve to slightly chill a red wine and enhance the tasting experience (ice is never put in wine as this would gradually dilute the wine's quality). Choose a classic stainless steel bucket, or if space is an issue, a foldable ice bag.
So the wine has been opened, and possibly decanted: now it's time to taste. Glasses are all-important. Choose a wine glass that has a stem and foot, to avoid holding the glass by the bowl and heating the wine with your hand. Start with just one traditional style (a tulip-shaped glass that concentrates the aromas is good) before graduating to using different glasses for red and white wine.
If you don't drink the whole bottle, you may well want to keep what's left. No doubt you have some simple stoppers to hand, but we advise you to use a vacuum pump to expel the air inside the bottle. In just a few seconds this system protects the wine from air and ensures that it stays good to taste for several days after opening.
It is essential to store your wines in a suitable space, particularly if you regularly add to your collection. There are many different kinds of wine fridge, from the most simple of systems for beginners to more sophisticated choices suitable for wine experts. If you plan to age your favourite wines for several years, you will need a wine cellar, but a simple wine fridge will suffice if you just want to store your wine at the correct temperature, ready to serve (multi-temperature options exist for different types of wine). And if you're lucky enough to own a real wine cellar, you might like to equip it with a digital thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature and humidity, ensuring that your wine is stored in optimum conditions.