FrontRunners: Corkscrews & Champagne
Without doubt, the warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is ugly. Its tusks, which typically reach about 7 inches, do nothing to enhance its appearance, but they can be quite useful when the animal is facing a combatant. In settings more refined than the creature’s native African savanna, the tusks provide a prized material for knife handles, egg holders, and even necklaces. (Note: The warthog is not endangered.) The tusks also make fine handles for corkscrews, including the one pictured here, designed by Gershon Jewelers (www.gershonjewelers.com) of Greenvale, N.Y. Gershon’s version features an end cap in sterling silver or 14-karat gold; the silver-capped version sells for $225, the gold for about $450. . . . You do not need a corkscrew for Champagne, but temperature control is certainly in order. Temperature fluctuations can wreak havoc on Champagne: As the liquid expands and contracts, the cork can loosen enough to expose it to oxygen, causing the bubbles to dissipate. Most refrigerated wine cellars accommodate only standard-size wine bottles, but the stainless steel Marvel Champagne Cellar (www.lifeluxurymarvel.com) is designed specifically for Champagne bottles. The appliance, which measures about 34 inches tall and 15 inches wide, will maintain a steady temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal storage temperature for Champagne. The $2,100 unit can hold as many as 18 bottles on its six glide-out racks. . . .