Thursday, August 30, 2007


Dam wine and jazz

Jazz musician Chuck Mangione played a free concert last night at the Kensico Dam. A group of us met there, with chairs and blankets and picnic food. And wine. The weather was perfect, and it was a perfect evening for rosé. But there was no rosé, alas. No rosé.

There was white, and, hey, someone brought a red! Let’s open the red. Get out the Swiss Army Knife. Cut off the foil. Open the corkscrew and screw it in. Pull. It’s one of those plastic corks. It doesn’t budge. Pull. Pull. Pull. Nothing. Someone else tries, and still nothing. Pull. Finally, something: the corkscrew pulls out of the cork, bringing shreds of the internal material with it.

Someone cruises the crowd, looking for someone with a dual-lever type of corkscrew. We borrow one and try that, but each time, it just pulls out more shredded material. We try sliding a knife blade in around the cork, but it won’t go far enough. The plastic cork is stuck to the glass bottle. It won’t come out.

We open the white wine. Sigh. It’s a screw-top, so it opens easily. But it’s white. Still, it’s wine, and we start the picnic.

Someone else arrives with a portable picnic table and a different kind of corkscrew. It has a longer screw in a different shape. Put that into the cork at an oblique angle, to try to grip some non-shredded portion. Press the lever against the bottle’s rim. Gently, not too much too quickly. Yes, there’s progress! It’s moving a little. It’s loosening. A little more gentle leverage. A little more. It’s open! We have red wine.

Now the picnic can start for real.

And the concert was excellent!


Dr. Momentum said...

This is why I always travel with a helix-style corkscrew (swiss army knife).

Unless I'm on a plane, where the bastards strip you of evidence you're a civilized person.

Barry Leiba said...

That's what I started with. It didn't work. This was the nastiest "cork" I've ever had to remove.

Ray said...

At last, wine producers are beginning to use screw tops. There is, of course, opposition to this, but in reality it makes a lot of sense for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is "no more corked wine".

My wife works in the wine trade, so we are fortunate enough to get lots of interesting things to taste. And really, there is no difference between wine from a bottle that has a regular cork, a synthetic cork, or a screw top. There is, however, a perceived difference, and this is what they are trying to overcome.

D said...

The concert was perfect, including the fact there was no rose. I've never tried one without thinking that the poor wine doesn't know if it wants to be red or white. And "white zinfandels?" Only for those afraid of reds, an abomination, imo. (For the record, I'd be thrilled to have my mind changed!)

Paul said...

No Rosé? Wait, you had white, you had red... How far away could Rosé be?

Barry Leiba said...

And why didn't we think of that? Mix a little of this, a little of that, et voilà, mm-hm.

Ah, well this is why we don't find ourselves drinking much Canadian wine. Good with entertainment. Not so good with the grape....