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Small sips to be allowed at last

5 Jan 2011 by Jancis Robinson

7 Jan - See this interesting set of observations at winespectator.com on preserving the contents of open bottles of wine.

The coalition currently governing the UK does something right. Legislation that prohibits wine to be served  in measures smaller than 125 ml is at last to be scrapped. See the official press release here.

You may recall our campaign for the right to sip from as long ago as October 2008. Now it seems that the requirement that beer and wine be served in (rather large) minimum measures has been scrapped so that the likes of The Sampler and other retailers and bar owners can legally sell small tasting measures and flights of small samples of wines.

The original legislation prohibiting measures of wine smaller than 125 ml was presumably inspired by those who did not want to see consumers short-changed but of course seems horribly outdated nowadays - not least now that binge drinking has become so firmly enmeshed in British social life. The change in the law has been partly inspired by the wish to trim Britons' drinking but I fear the chances of anyone's being diverted from a yard of lager to few millitres of Ch Pétrus are slim.

However, I would urge Britain's restaurateurs, bar owners and, yes, wine retailers to become much more creative in serving tastes of wine - especially now that there is a new and extremely simple product available that seems to be more effective than its predecessors for keeping wine fresh in an opened bottle.

WineSave is one of those large aerosol cans but this time filled with argon gas. I have found it pretty good at preserving even delicate old red burgundy over a week. This Australian invention is now available at the following UK stockists for about £20 a go, which is enough to save dozens and dozens of bottles:

Noel Young (usually at the forefront of any sensible move)
Lea & Sandeman
Selfridge's
Handford
Around Wine
Yorkshire Vintners

There's an excellent international list of stockists at www.winesave.com, which explains the technology and offers the opportunity to buy direct online.

Go on, Brits, get with those by-the-glass programmes!  

(The previous prohibitory regulations may not be scrapped officially for quite a time, but surely no-one would be prosecuted for serving measures smaller than 125ml in the interim,)

Tags:  serving wine
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