There are a lot of different tools and accessories available to increase your Portuguese red wine enjoying experience, and while it’s impossible to have all of them, here are ten accessories that I think everybody should have. A Good Solid Corkscrew Corkscrews can come in a variety of styles, designs, and sizes. Whether you’re a fan of the small hand corkscrew like those used by waiters and bartenders at restaurants or want something larger that sits on your counter, a reliable corkscrew is the first tool that every wine lover should have. I quality corkscrew can make opening bottles easier, and help prevent you from shredding the cork.
If you want a counter-top corkscrew, make sure it has some weight to it – that means pass on those little plastic ones with the suction cup bases. Something with a solid wood or metal base and a good metal arm is a must. If you prefer a smaller corkscrew, I like one where the actual corkscrew part is long and narrow, and with two leverage points for removing the cork, requiring less energy. If you’re really unsure, find a waiter or bartender you trust and ask them what kind of corkscrew they have.
Set of 8 General Purpose Wine Glasses Lots of experts will say that you should have separate glasses for red and white, and some will even go so far as to say that different varietals should have their own glasses. While it’s all well and good to have a variety of wine glasses, with the exception of your more fancy dinners and parties what you need is a set of good all around glasses.
An all around wine glass should have an opening and bowl large enough to accommodate red wine without being too large for white wine. This is the kind of glass that you see at some of your more “casual plus” restaurants – they either don’t have the budget or the space or the wine selection to justify carrying different glasses for red and white wine, and thus carry one that will accommodate both.
A set of eight means you’re ready for you, your significant other, a couple of dinner guests, or a small dinner party. Also, it means that if you break one or two you’re not stuck with a useless set. Your all around wine glasses shouldn’t cost more than about $5 to $10 each, that way if you do break them you’re not out a lot of money. Remember, these will be the glasses that you use after coming home from a long day at work and open up that table wine that isn’t fancy, but that you love to drink with everything.
Keeping your wine at a consistent temperature is important to not only ensuring that it ages properly, but also to making sure that it’s at the right temperature when you’re ready to enjoy it. While we’d all love to have a wine fridge that can support hundreds of bottles, realistically, most of us only need one that will hold around 20 bottles at any given time.
As wine has grown in popularity more and more wine refrigerators have become available with a variety of options. Depending on the size you decide on, a respectable wine refrigerator will cost you between $100 and $200. More expensive fridges will have space for more wine and options like dual zone control, allowing you to store both red and white in them. Personally, I keep my whites in mine during the summer as I drink them more then, and during the cooler months I adjust the temperature and keep several reds in there as I do not have a dual zone fridge.
Sure, you’ve kept your wine chilled in either a proper wine fridge or your actual refrigerator, but what about after you’ve opened the bottle and are enjoying it? If you’ve ever been to a good quality restaurant and ordered a bottle of white, they probably brought it out in either a marble or metal tube that had been kept in their freezer. Keeping the wine in there when not pouring will ensure that it doesn’t get warm while you’re eating, drinking, and enjoying the company of another person or a group.
In the absence of either a metal or marble chiller, a nice ice bucket is a good way to keep your wine chilled while you enjoy it. Simply put the wine in, place some ice and add a bit of water to give it a nice ice bath to preserve the temperature while you’re drinking it. Many stores sell an electric chiller for a single bottle, and while these are nice, they are often extremely expensive and aren’t nearly as effective as chilling the bottle ahead of time and then preserving the temperature with an ice bucket or metal/marble chiller. They are good for bringing a bottle of red down a few degrees, but you’re better off just getting a wine fridge for that purpose when it comes down to it.