Heated tongs are thought to be the best means of opening old bottles of vintage port.
They enable the neck of the bottle and the cork to be removed intact, thus eliminating the possibility of the cork crumbling and spoiling the wine. They also cause least disturbance to the bottle and also, therefore, to any sediment.
The tongs are made of still iron with a burnished finish with polished wood handles (oak), which are finished in brass. Port tongs are easy to use. Place the jaws in an open fire or over alighted gas ring and warm to red heat. (A camping gas stove can be used for this process). At the same time, place a feather or piece of cloth in water to soak.
Stand the bottle to be opened in an upright position. When the tongs are ready, remove them from the heat and use them to grip the neck of the bottle for about 30 seconds, rotating the tongs slowly back and forth about the neck by approximately a quarter of a turn.
The tongs are then removed and a wet feather or corner of a damp cloth wiped across the neck along the line where the tongs touched. the termal shock will cause the neck of the bottle to break cleanly across, allowing it to be removed completely. Decanting can then proceed as normal.
Please Note: Due to the nature of the wooden handles, the colour may change slightly from the image shown.
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