Terra Sigillata

The Friday Fermentable addendum

Just clearing out the MSM that finds its way into Chez Pharmboy and was totally taken by a brief gadget alert on wine stuff written by Rebecca Hall in the Enterprise section of the 2 October issue of Newsweek:

Toying With Wine
by Rebecca Hall

If you can’t sate your inner oenophile with stylish wine-glasses, there are plenty of cool new accessories on the market.

The Wine Sceptre (who wouldn’t want to own a sceptre?) is a metal wand you freeze to keep a prechilled wine bottle at optimal temperature. It’s inserted like a stirrer and hollowed out for pouring, and comes with a stopper–in gold, silver or Swarovski crystal ($187-$282; jfkwinesceptre.com).

Want to develop a nose for bouquet? Try a Le Nez du Vin kit, designed to help amateurs identify subtle aromas found in wine by supplying bottles of scents like honey and butter ($104-$395; nezduvin.co.uk).

To find out how a 2006 Merlot will age, check out the Clef du Vin. It uses a small piece of copper alloy to oxidize a glass of wine and mimic what it will taste like down the road. That way, you’ll know whether to shelve it or serve it to friends ($123; aroundwine.co.uk).

Pricey stuff, indeed, and I’d love to have my oenophile friends comment on how the copper Clef du Vin will “age” a wine. I am familiar with dropping pennies in wine that has been overdosed with sulfites, but am unfamiliar with the aging business. If I had $123 to throw around, I’d go guy a properly-aged bottle of first-growth Bordeaux or vintage port.

But what I’d really love to mess with, especially as a scientist, are the aroma kits from http://nezduvin.co.uk/. Again, very steep prices but if PharmMom and PharmSis are reading, “can you say Christmas gift?” I’d love to learn more about the subtle aromas of even the cheap wines I drink so that I can hold forth more intelligently on why I find so many $12 wines kicking the butts of snooty, $80 bottles.

I know, I know… all those chemicals in the Nez du Vin kits are probably natural products that I can find in the chemistry labs of my colleagues, but I don’t have the guts to bring samples home and actually taste them!


  1. #1 pharmsis
    September 29, 2006

    thanks for the hint. those small vials remind me of the chemistry set you used to pull out whenever grandma came to babysit…much to her chagrin.

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    October 2, 2006

    can i help it if i had to fib a bit to encourage grandma to foster my interest in chemistry???

New comments have been disabled.