Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Gift Suggestions

Collecting great wine labels
There are two frustrations that can beset those who want to keep the label of a particularly memorable wine they have tasted. If it’s self-adhesive, it is likely to defy all attempts to detach it from the glass bottle. If you are in a restaurant, you may not wish to take the bottle or bottles home with you, arousing amused glances from other diners. The L’Ivre d’Or is a system that I have seen used with total success in various Asian countries, and it is now being distributed on the Australian market for the first time. It involves a special plastic film which is applied to the label, and which detaches either the entire label or the printed surface of the label paper (particularly in the case of self-adhesives) and which is then transferred to a dedicated page in the smart mini album. There are 30 plastic films, and 30 double pages for the labels, with the labels on the right hand side of the open album, and a page for all sorts of notes that you might wish to make about the wine, who you drank it with, etc, etc on the facing page. It may sound complicated, but it is in fact easy, with very clear instructions on the method of use coming with the book. RRP $29.95; available through Primary Edge Promotions; email

Durand Corkscrew
The Durand Corkscrew is one of those inventions that make you wonder why no one thought of it before. Shortly put, it is a combined corkscrew and ah-so, and is amazingly effective at removing older and fragile corks. I had a firsthand demonstration with vintage port corks in bottles from 1963, ‘66 and ‘70, corks that would normally defeat the most skilled sommelier. It is a two-stage process, the first involving the insertion of a conventional corkscrew, the second bring the ah-so into play at the same time and on the same cork. Once the two components are locked in position, the cork is extracted using a simple twist and pull technique akin to that used where the only insertion is via the ah-so.

Clear ‘how-to-use’ instructions are included with the corkscrew pack.

The Australian distributor of the corkscrew is:

Grand Millesime Pty Ltd
Unit 6/40 Batman Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
Ph (03) 9326 5737
Fax (03) 9326 6744

The retail prices is $149, post free for pre-Christmas orders, and MasterCard and Visa cards are accepted.

More information available here on their website:

The future makers: Australian wines of the 21st century
There is a delightful ambiguity in the name of Max Allen’s new book, The future makers. Are they the makers in the future, or the makers of the future? You should expect no less from someone who is a writer first and foremost, his inspiration coming form his mind; wine is more important in the abstract, the nuts and bolts of its physical creation in the winery of less interest.

He shares with Campbell Mattinson the ability to capture the reader with a few words, and hold it for page after page, chapter after chapter. The originality of his thought means even the most knowledgeable oenophile will find much to enjoy; at the other end of the spectrum, the occasional or social quaffer will never find themselves lost in technicalities.

It is a great Christmas gift for someone close to you, simply because you will be around to make off with it immediately after your friend has finished reading it.

This handsomely designed, colourful 440 pp hardback book is published by Hardie Grant with an RRP of $59.95. Available here and at all good bookstores.

1 comment:

Tom Hakkinen said...

The L'Ivre d'Or seems like a great idea! I suppose the name is pun on "livre" (book) and "l'ivresse" (drunkenness)?

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