Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

Corkscrews - the best, and how many?

Posted by Philip James, Mar 7, 2008.

I usually end up collecting far too many of the average useful implement, but have been fairly restrained on corkscrews thus far. I have 2 of the standard hinged waiters friends (1 is cheap and one is worth $10) as well as one of the funky California tong type corkscrews.

One day I'd like to splurge on one of these handsome beasts:
but otherwise i'm pretty basic in my requirements.

Who uses the rabbit, or the california tongs or anything else unusual?


Reply by gr, Mar 7, 2008.

I go in more for utility than for beauty in tools, and that's all a cork screw really is. And, come to think of it, I don't think I have any corkscrews I actually *paid* for in that kitchen drawer at the moment.

Certainly, the one that's the most useful is one of these:

The one I have has some winery's name on it and came to me from RBoulanger, on whom the winery foisted a bunch as a marketing schtick, so ~$18 seems like a bit more than I would have figured, but is still pretty close to "free" for people who buy wine in volumes regularly, I guess.

What's nice about that design is first the bit that they tout: the double-hinged lever makes it much easier to pull stubborn and old corks because you have more vertical leverage without putting as much horizontal stress on the cork when you're getting it started, but it also has a much better bottle-opener than most corkscrews (at the base of the lever, but used with the lever closed, rather than open, like a bartender's bottle-opener).

I've never really gone in for the rabbit, any of the various table-mounted openers, or even the armed-style (I couldn't figure out what these are called to Google them...?) numbers, they've always seemed unnecessarily complex for what should be a simple tool for a simple job.

Reply by gr, Mar 7, 2008.

Oh, and I figure I've got about 3 kicking around in the same kitchen drawer, although they some times take a while to make it back there after use.

Reply by Philip James, Mar 7, 2008.

Gr - you probably have the exact same one i have then, branded by the excellent Chablis producer Domaine des Malandes:

Reply by Chris Carpita, Mar 7, 2008.

I got a pulltap from Astor Wines & Spirits, and it was $8, not $18. I wouldn't use anything else, but I sort of understand the really high-end stuff, like if you have a valuable bottle of wine and you really don't want to screw up (so to speak).

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 7, 2008.

I've got a pair of those high tech bottle openers laying around (they make great gifts, apparently). They work very well, but don't seem remotely worth it. I hardly use the things. Feels like cheating.

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Mar 7, 2008.

Anyone try the Wine Ratchet yet?

This beast has the same ratchet system as a wrench set so it is very quick work to get the worm into and out of corks. Instead of using a lever to force the cork up, you have to put the bottle between the legs and yank on the handle to extract the cork. Its not for the faint of heart... and makes it one of the more expensive non-labor saving corkscrews ever (although this little number at $71,000 makes it look like a bargain) Ah, it reminds me of the good ol' days of wine drinking, long before Archimedes invented the lever and made life complicated.

Another bonus is that the ratchet comes with a foil hook (not shown) that makes the best foil cutter I've ever used.

Reply by gr, Mar 12, 2008.

Sure, but, really, why aren't we all just breaking the glass off above the bulge?


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