Uncork It

Until recently I never found a wine opener I liked. For years I used a waiter-style opener, but always had trouble getting the cork out in one piece. I then switched to a rabbit-style corkscrew. But that was too much pressure. Guests expected a flawless display of cork extraction when I emerged from my kitchen with this yuppie device in hand. But then a family member introduced me to wall-mounted corkscrews.

This device isn't for the dainty or shy. Used by restaurants and bars in Europe, wall-mounted corkscrews resemble beer taps with their long wooden handles and sturdy metal shafts. To extract a cork, you simply slide the neck of the bottle into a receptacle at the end of the device that locks the bottle in place. You then press down the lever and pull up. The cork slides out of the bottle with ease every time.

One of the best wall-mounted models on the market is made by B. Ola?eta y Juaristi SA (BOJ), a family owned company based in the Basque Country of Spain. The pine-handled leverage arm on the wall-mounted model (BOJ also makes one that clamps to a countertop) is about a foot long. Available in a chrome or brass finish, the opener weighs six pounds and measures 22 inches from head to toe. There are other makers of wall-mounted openers (Rogar International and Zeus, for instance), though none of these other products feel as sturdy or are as elegantly designed as BOJ's.

A major drawback of these openers is that they need to be screwed into a stud in the wall. You also need enough clearance below the device so a bottle can hang down freely from the receptacle. Lastly BOJ wine openers aren't easy to find in the U.S. I found two places that stock them--www.creativecookware.com and online at Williams-Sonoma. Both charge about $200.

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