Robin Butler on Twitter

November 2013

For the past week or two, nearly every BBC news bulletin has mentioned seasonal shopping trends and how Internet shopping is taking an ever-larger slice of the Christmas ‘cake’.  It certainly underlines my decision when 10 years ago, I ceased dealing in Georgian furniture, silver and other works of art to concentrate solely on the subject I had made my own back in the mid 1970s - antique wine accessories. I stopped exhibiting in any further antiques fairs and shows, to trade Internet-only.  We all know that better deals can be offered online where there are no business rates or staffing and commuting costs. It has liberated my business to the advantage of my customers.

There has been a serious surge in online enquiries in the past week and we have been busy packing and sending decanters, coasters, wine funnels, labels and much more, to the four corners of the globe.  Over the last 4 days alone, we have sent parcels to California and Scotland, London and Australia.  It is wonderful to provide the tools that enhance our customers’ enjoyment of  wine!  However, we have stocked up well and as a result have a wonderful selection to entice you (or your husband, wife, partner or friend).  I have assembled a few special pieces to give you a taste of what we currently have and to tempt you.  I took this photograph only this morning....  

I recently viewed a ‘Youtube’ film in which three rather over-exuberant young men were conducting an experiment with a moderately good red wine.  In the first approach, they simply poured wine into a jug (which they claimed was tantamount to a decanter - I rather doubt that).  In the second they used a modern device (a Vinturi) through which wine is poured and which aerates it on its way into a glass.  They reserved the last third of the bottle and put it through a kitchen blender to give it maximum aeration; it emerged with quite a froth! 

To analise the findings:

Pouring straight from the bottle into the glass produced unimpressive results.

Using the jug improved the wine - but only marginally.

Pouring wine through the aerator improved the wine’s immediate appeal

Using the kitchen blender grossly over-emphasised the wine’s aromas and taste; They felt it was ruined.

 What a shame they did not use an antique decanter and silver funnel!   As so often, the traditional way of doing things is the best; the wine is aerated, but not over-much and in a decanter the exposure to oxygen is slow but quite sufficient, so that the first glass will be excellent and subsequent ones may continue to improve.  Using an antique decanter and funnel has another function not considered by the three young men; by going through the rigmarole of removing the cork, having the right light and taking the trouble to have a steady hand, all build up the anticipation of what is to come.  The decanting argument will no doubt continue for a long while yet, but the general consensus is strongly in favour. 

 It has become a standard joke that one can wait for ages for a London bus to arrive, then three come at once!    Something comparable has just happened here.  I have found three good funnels recently to add to the couple I already had.  One is my ‘Pick of the Month’ and all them are here.  Do you have someone in mind for whom a funnel (or decanter, of course), would make a much appreciated present? 

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