March 21 2011
After 12 years, I had got used to the fact that my wife’s wine-drinking habits resembled a form of vinous apartheid. In all the time that I had known her, she had consistently embargoed white wine and drank only red.
Then, a couple of years ago, she performed a volte-face. Henceforth, she informed me that only white wine, not red, would pass her lips. It didn’t matter if the red in question was a vin de pays or Petrus. It was all verboten.
Having spent 10 years populating my cellar with reasonable quantities of red wine, this U-turn was, to say the least, irritating. For one thing, it meant that my cellar was even more unbalanced than before. Worse still, I found that I just wasn’t opening the older reds for fear of them going off before I’d drunk them. (The days are long gone when I could manage an entire bottle all by myself, especially during the week.)
Then I heard about this new wine gizmo called WineSave which, miraculously, claims to keep opened bottles of wine in tip-top condition for a week or more. Was this too good to be true? Encouragingly, FT wine correspondent Jancis Robinson had given it the thumbs up, while Decanter magazine described it as the “must-have” wine accessory of the year.
And so it has proved after quite a lot of road testing. In fact, WineSave does exactly what it says on the tin, and not just for red and white still wines but for fizz as well. It’s also extremely simple to use: just give the wine a quick one-second squirt of argon gas from the canister and Bob’s your uncle.
Even the science is simple. Argon gas is entirely safe, inert, tasteless, odourless, colourless – and, usefully, two and a half times heavier than air. So it sits on top of the wine, protecting it from oxidation. Each canister costs £19.95 and should have enough argon for 50 bottles. Hurrah!
Now, I can open and enjoy my most cherished clarets, rhones and burgundies, tout seul, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be just as good the next time – and the time after that. And I’ve almost forgiven my wife.