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Wine Gadget: The Metrokane Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew

Friday, November 28, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral




The new version of Metrokane’s popular Rabbit corkscrew, the Vertical Rabbit, is an elegant device that makes cork removal a breeze. Simply place the Vertical Rabbit on top of any size bottle of wine, push the lever down and then lift it up again. It will pull out and eject the cork automatically in just three seconds. This model goes for about $60 and comes in three colors: black metal, gun-metal and candy-apple red (pictured).























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The Vinturi Wine Aerator

Thursday, November 20, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral


Let It Breathe: The Vinturi Wine Aerator

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring some wine geek stocking-stuffer ideas. The first one up is an elegant little device called the Vinturi wine aerator. This is one of those products that might arouse suspicion among skeptics, but all signs point to credibility. This aerating accessory is designed to accelerate a wine’s “breathing” time and enhance its bouquet and flavors, allowing wine drinkers to enjoy the effects of decanting without waiting around for an hour or more.

I haven’t tried one out yet, but there are several favorable reviews online, and the Vinturi is certified for use and sale at more than 100 Napa Valley and Sonoma wineries

How to use it: Just hold the Vinturi over the glass and pour the wine through. The company says the device uses Bernoulli’s principle – that is, as the speed of a moving liquid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. The pressure difference in the Vinturi ostensibly draws in air, which is mixed into the wine for perfect aeration.

How to buy it: The Vinturi is available at http://www.vinturi.com/ and several retailers and wineries, for about $40.














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Wine Review: Goats Do Roam in Villages 2007

Friday, November 14, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral

Wine Review: Fairview Goats Do Roam in Villages 2007, $16

The Goats Do Roam in Villages is one of those ideal bring-to-a-party wines. It has a funny name, a nice label, it’s not too pricey, and – most importantly – it’s a very good, approachable wine. The cheeky play on the French classic Côtes du Rhône-Villages gave me a good laugh the first time a co-worker told me about this wine a few years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it that the wine itself captured the same sense of playfulness as its title.

Made in South Africa on a goat farm, the blend of 80 percent Shiraz, 6.5 percent Pinotage and 3.5 percent Mourvèdre is aged separately in oak for 14 months and then blended and bottled with minimal filtration to maximize flavor. There’s a nice interplay of dark plum flavors, aromatic spices and a pleasing, not-too-harsh pop of black pepper. If you want something similar, but on the lighter side, look for the yellow-label of the Goats Do Roam (without the “in Villages”) – it’s a bit cheaper still, and is also a great party wine.

Quaffability Rating: 90






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Wine Vacations: Sipping in the Sun

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral


Two weeks ago, I discussed corportate winery tours, so I thought it would be appropriate to follow that up with a post about how to add wine-tasting to your vacation.

Royal Hideaway Playacar, an all-inclusive resort on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is offering a $7,000 wine class to visitors as part of a luxury vacation package. The experience includes a private wine class with Royal Hideaway’s wine expert, Olivier Cramail, a bottle of the rare 1986 Pétrus, and a dinner for two on the beach – paired with the wine, of course. As part of the tour, Cramail will take the participants on a tour of the resort’s wine cellar, followed by instruction on the art of wine selection, pairing wine with meals and appreciating the subtle flavors of each wine. To book the $7,000 Wine Class, call 1-800-999-9182. For reservations at Royal Hideaway Playacar, call 1-800-999-9182 or visit www.occidentalhotels.com/royalhideaway.

Of course, you can also visit any number of resorts in wine regions around the world. Wine Hotels Collection has a directory of wine resorts in Argentina, Spain, France, Chile, Italy and South Africa, with plans to include Germany, Australia and New Zealand in the future.

In the U.S., http://www.resortsandlodges.com/ has a listing of California Wine Country resorts and lodges.

If you want to make your own wine travel trip, http://www.winetravelguides.com/ provides specialized guides for independent travelers, written by respected wine and travel writers with inside knowledge of their region.0020

For a very special wine travel experience, consider heading to the Niagara Icewine Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario in January. Celebrations of the famed Ontario icewine, which is made from frozen grapes harvested in the dead of winter, include gala evenings, ornate ice bars and winery tours. I’ll talk more about icewine later. In the meantime, enjoy your vacation -- if you're lucky enough to be taking one soon.














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Join the Club: The Joys of Wine-of-the-Month Clubs

Thursday, November 6, 2008 by Michal The Joggler Kapral

As the holiday season approaches, I have the perfect idea for a gift that keeps on giving. Rather than buying a bottle or two of wine as a gift, consider a wine-of-the-month club membership. It’ll cost more, but it’s a great way to support the smaller winemakers, and – much like a magazine subscription – the person you give it to is going to remember your generosity every month of the year.

There are some complications with state borders in the U.S. and provincial restrictions in Canada, so ideally you should look for a club close to home, but some of the American clubs ship to most States. Here are some suggestions:

California Wine Club
You can order two-bottle packages for about $47, or monthly packages. Each comes with a 12-page newsletter. The founders wanted to replicate the effect of “one friend recommending a great bottle of wine to another friend,” taking the guessing out of wine selection.

Californiareds.com
This is another California wine club that obviously specializes in red wines.

Wine Insiders
The Wine Insiders club uses an expert panel to make their selections, buying the wines in large volume and “cutting out the middle man.” They offer a California Wine Club, World Classics and a Connoisseur’s package, all in the affordable price range of three months for $89-149.

Virginia Wine Club
The Virginia Wine Club is one of several clubs in smaller growing regions. This is a perfect way to sample wines that might not be widely available. From their website

“As a member of the Virginia Wine of the Month Club, you will be privileged
to savor an impressive array of award-winning Virginia wines...delivered
directly to your doorstep. As you delight in each month's wine, you will
also learn about the winery's history and the dedicated vintners who create
these wonderful wines.”

In Canada:

Winerytohome.com
This is a very popular club that delivers Ontario wine selections each month chosen by top experts such as Tony Aspler and David Lawrason.

BCwineclub.ca
In British Columbia, the B.C. Wine Club charges $60-80 per month, including all shipping and taxes.

This is just a sampling on the wine-of-the-month clubs out there. Many individual wineries will also have their own. I belong to the Hillebrand Winery's club in Ontario, and I like the surprise each month of opening the box to discover a new treasure.





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About

Michal Kapral has been enjoying wine at home since way before he was of legal age. The editor-in-chief of Canadian Running magazine runs marathons to burn off all the calories he consumes on wine and cheese. Kapral spent some time living in Italy as a teenager, solidifying his appreciation for all things wine-related. In his days as a journalism student, he was likely one of the youngest – and poorest – subscribers to Wine Spectator magazine. In 1999, Kapral turned down a job at a winery to work at Captivate, where he spent 11 years as a news editor.

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The Quaffer

Highlighting the best new wines from around the world, in the price range of $10-40, Michal "The Quaffer" Kapral reminds viewers some of the finer things in life are most definitely within their reach. This feature focuses on North American wines and includes reviews, food pairings and news from the world of wine.