What's the most indispensable wine accessory you own?
Besides a corkscrew and wine glass? I'd have to say a champagne stopper. Perhaps I should make that "stoppers," plural, because I own at least 15, a testament to my fondness for fine froth. These handy devices come in a variety of designs, but the basic function is the same. A spring-loaded silicone or rubber liner forms a pressure-tight seal over the bottle opening, locked into place by arms that grip beneath the fat ring on the bottleneck (where the wire cage previously held the mushroom cork in place). This preserves carbonation and freshness of an uncorked bottle of sparkling wine. The classic design looks like this.
Perhaps you're thinking: What people in their right minds open a bottle of sparkling wine without finishing it? A reasonable question. But it happens, and it's good to be prepared rather than to chug more than is reasonable or comfortable.
Besides, there's an underappreciated advantage to saving that half-open bottle in the fridge for a later day in the week. In my experience, many fine sparkling wines share something in common with chili and beef stew; they taste better the next day. The sometimes overly foamy carbonation turns tamer and creamier while a bit of air exposure coaxes out richer, more honeyed complexity. Depending on the specific wine, it can be a revelation. Just the other day I tasted a half-finished, two-day-old $14 prosecco and the leftovers were clearly better than the freshly popped juice.
The Flavour Principle by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol (HarperCollins) won top prize for best general English cookbook at the 2014 Taste Canada Food Writing Awards.