There are a few obvious obstacles to overcome when considering starting a wine collection. First off, of course, is price. But that entry point has been obliterated as good wines can now be bought at almost any price. However, having a collection implies keeping a collection, which would thereby necessitate a place to keep the collection. Luckily, wine fridges are abundant and attainable. That leaves what is perhaps the biggest barrier, and one that is not so easily explained away: space limitations. If you have nowhere to store a collection, you have nowhere to store one. Simple as that, end … Read more
One of the great mysteries in life is knowing what you want out of the fridge before you open it. This is not a food-specific dilemma: the same conundrum can and does occur when contemplating a wine selection. While it may be easy (or not) to decide upon red or white, deciding upon which red or white is another story entirely. It is something that we as a society have learned to live with. And as with other resignations, we try to make up for it by doing the little things.
Since it is apparent that the practice of open-door … Read more
Apple's use of the same Intel chips and other hardware in Macs that PC manufacturers use allows for a number of options when it comes to running Windows-based software. Apple supports the option of dual booting with Boot Camp, and third-party virtualization solutions such as Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are available as well. While convenient, all of these options require you to purchase a license for Windows and have Windows running somehow on your system.
Running Windows-based programs from within Windows is by far the stabler and more supported option, but if you do not wish to purchase … Read more
Perhaps you, like me, enjoy a glass of wine. Especially if it's a larger glass, at least half full of good wine.
Perhaps you, riding on your usual wave of intelligence and sophistication, believe that you can always taste the difference between cheap wine that deserves a box or a hole in the ground, and expensive wine that deserves another year or two in a dimly lit cellar.
Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England, believes the mathematical likelihood is that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Wiseman, you see, decided that … Read more
Oh, wine, sweet nectar of the gods. I open my $2.99 bottle of Trader Joe's red, have a glass with dinner, and two days later discover that all the tasty goodness has disappeared, the victim of oxidation. Why must the world be so cruel?
The maker of the Wine Balloon says it can delay the inevitable with an invention that looks like a cross between a Whoopee cushion and a hand pump oxygen mask. I know that sounds suspect, but it's a much more elegant solution than that description might lead you to believe.
The Wine Balloon launched late last year, but its coming-out party happened at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago last month.
It joins a crowded field of devices designed to prolong the life of our beloved grape-based beverages. There are plenty of vacuum seals, pump stoppers, and argon cartridges already on the market. The Wine Balloon's appeal is in its simplicity.
For $22, you get a small hand pump in the shape of a bunch of grapes with a tube leading down to a rubber balloon. Drop the balloon into the partially imbibed bottle and pump it up to seal the precious liquid away from the meddlesome air. The company says the rubber will not affect the wine's taste.… Read more
I've reviewed and auditioned a lot of headphone amplifiers over the years, but Red Wine Audio's Isabellina HPA LFP-V Edition stood out from the pack. The amp improved the sound of almost every headphone I used with it.
Priced at $2,500 the Isabellina is very much a high-end audio product. Designed and built in Vinnie Rossi's small factory in Durham, Conn., the headphone amp's elegant functionality belies its technical sophistication. Rossi started Red Wine Audio in 2005, and before that he worked on high-speed laser transmitters for Bell Labs.
The Isabellina is more than just a headphone amp; it features a spectacularly good digital-to-analog converter and a hybrid transistor/vacuum tube audio section. While the Isabellina can be run off an AC power outlet, it sounds best powered by high-current lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Rossi claims "The batteries use organic, phosphate-based material, providing an ideal combination of performance, safety, reliability and environmental friendliness...in fact, more so than any other rechargeable battery technology."
The amp's digital connectivity options include USB, Coax, and Toslink/optical inputs; there are no analog inputs. The Isabellina has analog outputs, so it can be used as a stereo preamplifier, with a separate power amp to drive speakers, or a digital-to-analog converter in a hi-fi system.
The Isabellina features old tech 16-bit, non-oversampling digital-to-analog converters. Rossi acknowledges the latest chips' specifications look more impressive on paper, but he thinks most of them (even some really expensive ones) sound "quite sterile and artificial" in comparison. The Isabellina will work with digital sample rates up to 192kHz, but it will only playback with 16-bit resolution. … Read more
There are few things as enjoyable as a good bottle of wine shared among friends. (A good bottle of wine shared with a particular friend might be one of them, but that still counts.) When served at the ideal temperature, wine has the potential to heat up or cool down the proceedings; it's one of wine's interesting characteristics that different varieties benefit from different serving temperatures. Whether a bottle of wine is meant to be shared in an intimate setting or at a rambunctious get-together, all wines do well served at a particular temperature.
However, serving a particular … Read more
On a Monday morning late last month, at the headquarters of the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, the promotional vehicle for a vineyard-speckled region about four hours northwest of Manhattan, something was amiss with Foursquare.
Namely, the Corning, N.Y.-based tourism group's account on the location-sharing social-media site was doing something funny: It was triggering friend requests. That's not supposed to happen with a Foursquare account that's set up as a brand or business page--users should be able to automatically follow the brand or company, rather than having to wait to have their requests … Read more
The urge to get things done around the house can hit at funny times. Naturally, the best course of action is to be prepared. Aside from the requisite hammer and nails, a good screwdriver is essential to have on hand. If it is a power screwdriver, all the better; not only does it help to get the job done quickly and easily, but through the use of attachments, it can accomplish most any task. Like opening a bottle of wine.
Yes, opening a bottle of wine is now in the realm of the do-it-yourselfer. The Bosch IXO Vino Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver with Corkscrew Attachment … Read more
Wine and entertaining just go together like, well wine and cheese. However, while cracking open a bottle is a sure-fire way to get the party started, said bottle of wine usually requires some preparation. While the libation isn't as prep dependent as say, absinthe is, specific wines do benefit from being served at specific temperatures. Thankfully when it comes to wine any preparation needed to drink the bottle is painless--and can even be relaxing.