Many wine bottles and reference guides helpfully offer an “optimum” temperature at which a wine should be served. Sticking the wine in an ice bucket is easy. Actually measuring the temperature it’s at is the hard part.
Parasia’s Digital Wine Thermometer looks a lot like an oversized pen. Uncap it and dip the probe in your wine. A digital display quickly indicates the temperature, to the nearest tenth of a degree. On the other end, you get a bright LED flashlight, good for all manner of drinking concerns, including aid in decanting your bottle of vino.
The thermometer works well, but it’s flawed in that it can’t easily be used with wine that’s still in the bottle. The size and shape make it better for wine that’s already in the glass… but by then it’s already too late to be chilled further. I’ve long since used an Aube thermometer that’s got a rubber stopper on it that lets it fit right into the wine bottle itself (it also has settings for a variety of wine styles, and an alarm that chimes when the wine has hit the correct temperature), and I still prefer the Aube to the Parasia. On the other hand, the Parasia is more portable and elegantly designed, and the flashlight is a nifty touch.
Official pricing isn’t available, but I’d expect it to run $20 or less (about the same as the Aube).
B+ / parasia-americas.com
The winemaking process continues over at Wired…
In the world of wine gadgets, there are fancy thermometers, cool glasses, and high-end corkscrews. And then there is WinePod, which lets you make your own wine, 48 bottles at a time, from frozen grapes, year-round.
I installed a WinePod in my house last week, and my first 150 pounds of grapes go into it tomorrow afternoon.
This is too much for Drinkhacker alone, so Wired is letting me write about the experience on their hallowed website. Blog #1 is now live. Follow the adventure by clicking on over!
Wired: Winebloggin’ Episode 1
Broken glass, 900 tons of broken bottles, is the key ingredient for the project alongside the interstate.
“On the surface it may seem like a kooky idea,” said Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger. “We’re putting it in an elevated area where pedestrians are not allowed.”
The new landscaping is carrying on the new color scheme through the I-5 corridor through downtown Sacramento. Over a clear glass base, backhoes are scooping a green and amber combination, topped off by a special layer of broken blue from Skyy Vodka bottles.
Intriguing… but broken glass makes me nervous no matter where it is.
Full story here.
Obviously most consumers don’t really give much thought toward presentation. I mean, if people cared how their drinks looked, the Solo Cup Company would be out of business.
Crystal maker Spiegelau bucks the trend with a collection of “Beer Classics” crystal glassware. Three new glasses are available, a lager glass, a stemmed pilsner glass, and a giant-sized wheat beer glass. The glasses are all authentic crystal, quite light, and easy to hold without slippage. It’s a big surprise when you’re used to thick, industrial-strength pint glasses. Design-wise, the glasses are all top notch and very eye-catching, especiall the pilsner glass (pictured below), with its elegant tulip shape and short but sturdy stem.
All the glasses are dishwasher safe, but fitting the 9 1/3-inch wheat beer glass into my dishwasher was a real challenge.
At about the cost of a good 12-pack, these glasses aren’t going to be on everyone’s shelf, but you should definitely pick up at least one tube (they’re sold in pairs in cylindrical cardboard tubes) for those times when you bring home something special and sipping it straight from the bottle just won’t do.
A / $30 (set of two) / spiegelau.com
The good folks at Bass have designed one of the neatest pieces of barware I’ve seen since the muddler became a hit: Called the brolly (British slang for an umbrella), it’s a little gizmo designed specifically for making Black & Tans. (Black & Tan is pint glass half full of pale ale (typically Bass), with stout (typically Guinness) filling up the rest. The trick is keeping the two separate in the glass.)
Making a B&T at home usually means trying to dribble Guinness down onto a spoon so it slowly floats on the Bass, something which is nearly impossible to do unless you make these every day for a living.
Enter the brolly, a triangular wedge that attaches to the top of your pint glass. Just pour in the Bass, building up a nice head, then put the brolly on and pour the stout into it. Tiny holes on the sides ensure the stout is delivered to the top of the ale slowly enough to make it float perfectly. Even though my Guinness can was extra foamy, my results were dead-on perfect the first time out. (It’s tough to see in the photo below, which I realize looks like there’s far too much black and not enough tan, but the layer separation was exceptional in real life.)
Want one? If you live in California, send Bass a check for one dollar to the address on this page. Offer runs until April 30. If you ever plan to make even one Black & Tan in your life, this is a tool you definitely need in your bar. (Sorry folks, the box you see above is just a promo. You only get the brolly tool, which is pictured on top of it.)
I don’t anticipate I’ll be evaluating a whole lot of stemware on this blog, but I thought the Silhouette was just too interesting to pass up and I had to write about it.
Check out the picture below and you’ll immediately see what I mean: The Silhouette is a standard, large-sized wine glass (like a big Cabernet glass) with a scoop taken out of one side of the top. It looks strange, but listen: The idea is that it makes for a better “seal” around your nose when you inhale the fragrance of a wine. You place the scoop part around your mouth (the site shows it going under your nose but it worked better for me under the mouth entirely, but over the chin), forming a more complete enclosure so the wine’s vapors can’t escape. You thus get a fuller, more complete sense of the wine than you do with a regular glass, in theory at least.
I tried the Silhouette vs. a standard wine glass and the experience was interesting and unexpected. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but smelling wine in the regular glass was awkward, while the Silhouette felt quite natural. Side by side, I got a sense of the wine more quickly with the Silhouette than with the regular glass, though eventually I found they both provided the same aroma and bouquet. The Silhouette’s was just a bit stronger and faster to materialize. You can also read all about the company’s opinion of how it can best be used here.
The Silhouette has its challenges: It’s difficult to clean because you can’t set it upside down to dry, and it takes some explaining to people who see it and assume it’s a broken glass. (I worry the maid might try to throw it out someday…) Though it’s 24% leaded crystal, the glass is quite thick, too. That probably aids with sturdiness: At $54 each, you aren’t going to want to replace your Silhouette often. (That’s about on par with the most expensive Riedel glassware.)
This glass could make for a great gift for the wine enthusiast in your life, and it’s certainly a conversation piece. You may only want to invest in one or two for now… and be prepared to start explaining when he opens it as a Christmas gift.
$54 / greatestwineglass.com