So, here's a story. I bought myself a bottle of red wine
. It's a mixture of 69% shiraz
and 31% merlot
, but I'm not positive about that - the bottle is now at the bottom of my trash can. How that happened:
Nowadays, I like to have a bit of wine to go with my dinner, and/or with my nightly cigarette
. My host is a weird guy; he won't buy his own alcohol
, but when he comes across a bottle that isn't his, he'll drink it to near completion. Without fail. As such, this evening I bought myself a smallish bottle of wine to make sure I wouldn't be too enraged
if I come to find it nearly empty. So after selecting my wine glass and choosing the movie for the night (Rushmore
), I whipped out the corkscrew, drilled it to the base, started to lever it out of the bottle, and krrish.... The mouth of the bottle got chipped off by retractable stand. And it didn't matter where I placed it, glass kept flaking off the bottle onto the floor. Ok, so then I tried drilling deeper until there was no metal visible and pulling it off, aaaaand... I broke the corkscrew
. I also ended up leaving the curly bit in the cork
, so now the cork is stainless steel
re-inforced. By now I'm wanting that wine far much more than I originally did. OK, how am I going to get this damn thing open? I tried inching the cork out with a knife, uhuh. Tried cutting away the cork, but thanks to the spiral, fuckall there too.
Now there is this technique of getting a bottle open called tonging
, and ThePope
has an excellent writeup on it here
. For a quick summary, with really old vintages, the cork may have decayed over time and become brittle, so if you try using a corkscrew, you might end up just ripping everything up and leaving bits of cork in your 19th century Chateau Lafite
, and you wouldn't want that, noooo. So the way you get those bottles open is to first get something called a wine tong, which is basically a metal ring on a handle. Then you heat that over a stove. When it's hot enough, slide it over the neck of the bottle and hold it in place. After a good-enough while, remove the tong, and rub a cube of ice around the hot part of the bottle. The glass should crack, and you should be able to gently break off the neck, and pour your wine into a decanter. When the sediments have settled, the wine is ready serve. Step 1
: Buy a wine tong.
If I had a metal coathanger
or even a paperclip
I might have tried something adventurous, but nothing like that was around. I tried holding my cigar
torch sideways as steady as I could and rotating the bottle. I applied ice. Nothing happened. I tried torching the hell out of just one spot, icing it - nothing. So then I thought and thought and thought.
The final solution. Perhaps I could smash the neck open? But I must find a way of avoid bits of glass falling into the bottle. So I found a facetowel
and wrapped it around the end. I took it outside and started beating the bottle on the edge of the curb. Bottles are actually pretty tough, so I ended up having to need two hands. Finally a cold liquid began to spread underneath my fingers through the towel, and I knew I hit pay dirt
. The towel caught most of the glass, and I shook it out and came back upstairs.
The bottle was solidly open, but I don't really want to drink it all now. However, I had a leftover 1 litre smartwater
bottle handy. So to avoid glass shards, I let the wine bottle settle for a bit and decanted
it into the plastic one. I disposed of it, and then put the new water/wine bottle in the fridge. I'm actually quite proud of myself, and I can't wait for it to cool. Unfortunately, there's no way to get around that other than just waiting. But I thought that by the time I finished writing up this story, the wine should be cool enough to drink, and I think by now it probably is. So I'm going to have my Black Swan
Shiraz/Merlot right now. Cheers! Epilogue:
There's one thing we're forgetting - what happened to the towel? It was white originally and now it's not, and it belongs to my host. What's to be done? Well, being the nerd I am, I went on the interwebs
to find out the best course of action. There are many things one can do, but one helpful one was to place the stained area over a bowl. Then pour hot water all over it. The stain will vanish, and it mostly did. Now it's drying on a towel rack in the bathroom, and when it's dry, no one will notice. Although Palpz
's method at the bottom of the red wine
writeup is also cool too.