I have been lent a Philip Stein Wine Wand – not to turn water into wine (alas), but to ‘let red wine breathe in minutes instead of hours’. I have the 15cm travel size, a glass tube containing five ’encapsulated crystals’ which are said to ‘use natural frequencies to perfectly aerate and decant wine’. No, I don’t know what it means either. I asked the neighbourhood scientists and they were sniffy. Mind you, I think they saw red when they spotted the words, ‘Philip Stein is the leader in mind-body wellness through frequency-based technology”.
Anyway, I put the wand in a glass of good, but young red and waited, sceptically, for three minutes. Guess what? The wine did seem to have developed. But why bother? You can aerate wine, bringing out its aromas and flavours, simply by taking your time over it and swirling it round in the glass, or by decanting the bottle (aka pouring it gently) into another bottle. And it will be much cheaper. The travel wand is £195; the large wand, for a bottle, is £325 (www.philipstein.com, 020 7873 2036). I’d rather have £195 worth of the reds below.
2005 Tesco Finest Gigondas, £7.99
Full-bodied, ripe and spicy; a great alternative to Chateauneuf (Tesco; reverts to full price of £10.99, January 6).
2002 Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, £14.99
Supple, cedary, mature claret (Majestic, £12.99 when you buy two).
2006 Cosme Palacio Rioja, £5.49-£8.49
Medium-bodied, freshly fruity, soft, silky Rioja (Waitrose, at £5.49 until December 30; Tesco; Oddbins).