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Corkscrews: Ode to the Snubnose

Isn't he beautiful? This is my favorite wine opener in the world. My trusted and true friend when it comes to opening a wine bottle (and, boy, have we had some good juice together!).

The design is beautiful. Buffed chrome steel. Teflon bore. Incredibly compact size, with an extending hilt for leverage. Exceedingly well engineered, the hilt fits ergonomically against the heel of the hand, making for zero stress if the cork is tight. It's fairly heavy but in a good way, conveying solidity and durability. Trust me, if you get one, it's the only corkscrew that you'll ever need. Despite articles such as this, I hope corks don't go away because I don't ever want the snubnose to become obsolete.

I instinctively started calling it the snubnose from day one. The moniker, 'snubnose,' comes, I guess from the revolver of the same name. Not that I have any familiarity with said gun. In fact, I'm not even a fan. What I was probably thinking of, though, was the celebrated Walther PPK, which I've revered since childhood, since it was James Bond's signature pistol and is a character in many of the books and movies. Not that I'm a gun enthusiast or a member of the NRA or anything, but I can admire the elegant, compact lines of the pistol, especially as they mimic the craftsmanship on the snubnose (corkscrew).

While the Walther PPK, invented 1931, is German in origin and was popular with National Socialists, we can't hold that dark history against it. After all, so is/was the Mercedes-Benz. In fact, according to the all-powerful Wikipedia, the PPK stands for "Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (Police Pistol Detective Model)--implying it was more concealable than the original PP model and hence better suited to plainclothes or undercover work." Thus, as I delve deeper, my attraction to the snubnose (corkscrew) becomes more coherent: Anyone acquainted with me knows that if I hadn't become a wine and spirits writer, I would have been a hard-boiled, undercover detective in 1930s Europe. Also interesting about the PPK (from Wikipedia): "Adolf Hitler used his PPK to kill himself as Soviet forces closed in on the Führerbunker in Berlin. " So, you see, the PPK did some good, after all. Just as the snubnose (corkscrew) has done much good for me.

Incidentally, my wife bought me the snubnose at an expensive shop in Burgundy a few years ago. In fact, she took it to work with her the other day, and I happened to notice it was gone and, yes, panicked.

Luckily she didn't lose it and returned it safe and sound the next day. If she had misplaced it, though, I was going to try to find another model, which is how I started researching this blog post. But I had no idea who made the snubnose or what the model number was (the discreet Snubnose carries almost no identification, as opposed to the rather overeager PPK). In my research, though, I discovered that the snubnose is actually called the X-Tens and it's made by Pulltap's. And it's not nearly as expensive as I thought (or as it should be). What a bargain!
Amazon has got it for $49.95, but here's another store that sells it for only $35.95.

Sommeliers, take note. The snubnose (corkscrew, not pistol) will make your life better and easier and you'll get compliments from guests. Wine lovers at home, you'll never want to open a bottle with anything else.

Thank me later.