Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top 10 Questions about Wine: 9 & 10

This post will wrap up the “top questions asked about wine on Ask.com.” We’d love it if you would let us know your burning questions about wine, or at least the questions you hear people ask the most. We’re more than happy to tackle any tough ones you lob our way.

Questions 9 and 10 are perhaps the most practical of the bunch. If you throw a lot of parties in your home, it’s very useful to know how to remove red wine spills from carpet, which ranks as question #9. Short of only allowing guests to drink white (don’t laugh, I have actually known people to do this), you will most likely be in this situation more than once. You won’t get very far as a wine lover without knowing the answer to #10, what is the best way to open a bottle of wine. If you can’t get in there, you can’t drink the good stuff!

#9. How do I remove red wine spills from carpet?

There are almost as many theories on this as there are wines to spill, so we went straight to the domestic authority, Martha Stewart herself. Martha’s website suggests using a clean, dry, white towel or paper towel to blot the spill. Be careful not to rub the stain, as that will only make it worse. After blotting, dribble (her word not ours) very hot water from a sponge on to the spill. Blot again with the towel, and continue to repeat this process until the stain disappears.

Although most of the other methods abide by the same process (blot, sponge, blot, repeat) some suggest using various substances on the sponge versus just very hot water. We came across mixtures of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide, piles of table salt, white wine to neutralize, and the ever-popular club soda. We say if you are not going to listen to Martha, get yourself a product called Wine Away. We sell it in the store and it is like a little miracle worker for wine lovers (errr, wine spillers.) Wine Away works great on clothing and on carpets you simply spray it on the stain, wait and blot, let it dry, and then use a damp rag to remove any excess. Viola, a clean carpet and no need to limit your guests to white wine and vodka!

#10. What is the best way to open a bottle of wine?

The first step in opening a wine bottle is to check and see what type of closure is on the bottle. These days this can include a screwcap, synthetic cork, wooden cork, or even a glass closure called a Vino-Seal. If the wine is bottled under screwcap, chances are you know what to do.

If the wine has a glass closure, it will most likely be covered in foil so you may not know what you are dealing with until you remove the foil. This is one reason that removing the foil (versus digging a corkscrew in the top of the bottle without removing it) is a pretty important step. Remove the foil with a small knife or foil cutter and simply pull out the glass stopper. These stoppers are resealable so you can pop them right back in if you don’t finish the bottle.

Dealing with corks is slightly more involved. There are many different types of openers you can use but the best, if you can master it, is the good old-fashioned “waiter’s corkscrew” (pictured.) After removing the foil from the wine bottle (try to cut if from the lower lip so the foil does not come in contact with the wine when you pour), wipe the top of the cork to remove any dust or debris. Hold the bottle in place with your free hand and place the tip of the corkscrew in to the center of the cork, keeping the screw as straight as possible. Turn the corkscrew clockwise, while applying some pressure, approximately seven turns around. Fasten the lever to the lip of the bottle and pull the cork about one quarter of the way out. Now attach the second, lower lever and pull the cork about three-quarters of the way out. You should now be able to gently pull up on the cork and wriggle it from the bottle. Be careful not to pull to the left or right or you may break the cork.

Other popular openers you may come across are the screwpull and the lever-style corkscrew, known to many as the “Rabbit.” The screwpull works in much the same way as the waiter’s corkscrew, except that you fasten the grips to the mouth of the wine bottle and turn the screw around and around until the cork emerges from the wine. You remove the cork from the screwpull by turning the handle in the opposite direction while holding on to the cork. These screwpulls sometimes pierce through the bottom of the cork and leave some cork in the wine. They are also, in our experience, quite easy to break after some use and a few tough corks.

The “Rabbit” is certainly fancy but much more cumbersome (and expensive) than your average wine opener. To use the lever style device, open the handle all the way so that it is facing down. Place the clamps around the neck of the bottle and hold them there. With the other hand, push up on the handle, forcing the screw down in to the cork. Pulling up on the handle, away from the bottle, will remove the cork. Pushing the handle up and down again should remove the cork from the screw.

This is admittedly difficult to explain without pictures and video, so check out sites like ehow.com to watch the excitement in action. Once you get that bottle open, the real pleasure begins! Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment