It has a metal clamp over the cork that doesn't pull or twist off. I went to Twitter for help, but nobody gave me advice.
I don't drink a lot of Lambrusco at home, so I have to ask: Does anyone know how to open this bottle? Seriously. http://t.co/Er6MwmiAGc
— W. Blake Gray (@wblakegray) July 25, 2014
I searched the Internet, and the best I could find was another writer (the Wine Curmudgeon) who had pried the bottle open with a screwdriver.
The bottle in question was a fine summer wine, a dry Lambrusco, with a name as unnecessarily difficult as its closure. Here it is in full, according to Wine-Searcher: Cleto Chiarli Vigneto Enrico Cialdini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco. It's from Emilia-Romagna, and it's about $15 a bottle.
Struggling with this bottle made me think about the 19% of U.S. wine drinkers described as Overwhelmed in Constellation Brands' latest consumer survey. My wife is waiting with dinner, and I can't even figure out how to open the bottle.
I'm glad I was at home and not in a restaurant. I got out my Sharper Image toolbox, which had been a wedding gift for the unhandy. I don't think I'd ever used the needle nose pliers before, but that's because I never tried to open a bottle of Cleto Chiarli Vigneto Enrico Cialdini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco before.
I pulled off the metal clasp with the needle nose pliers, and then the cork easily came out, and voila: chilled, dry red wine with a light fizz, the perfect wine for that rare sweltering 80 degree (27 Celsius) evening in San Francisco. We were having some salumi, which is what inspired me to try to open the Lambrusco, but it also went well with grilled salmon.
The experience got me to thinking about Overwhelmed drinkers and all those $9 supermarket bottles they face. How many have some sort of stopper that needs removing? Synthetic corks have come a long way, but they're still an obstacle until you've opened 20 or so of them.
|No corkscrew needed, but bring your toolbox|
Most of the time I don't feel sorry for the Overwhelmed. There are hundreds of wine introductory books out there, and small wine shop owners who are happy to answer questions. If the Overwhelmed didn't insist on buying their wine at supermarkets -- the worst place possible -- maybe they wouldn't be Overwhelmed.
But for an evening, I knew just how they felt, when I had a bottle of wine with a 29-syllable name and no instruction manual.