Looking to buy an Ah So but I am having trouble finding info on the qualities of different brands and the general value/quality difference between a cheap vs more expensive option. Anyone have any thoughts/ recommendations?
There's sorta the cheap generic one which you find everywhere and then there's the Monopol which I find to be a vast improvement although the action of it takes some getting used to. There's the Durand as well but that's really a pretty specific tool and it weighs a lot just to slag about casually. Wrote up a bit about this sometime back https://www.hudin.com/not-all-ah-sos-are-created-equal/
Thanks this is really helpful!
Another vote for Monopol. I purchased mine off amazon and have never had an issue with it.
I have gone through way too many cheap versions ! I try to use my ah so every night on the floor when possible, so I did a bunch of research before I purchased my current one, a Peugeot. The Monopol looks decent, I was just skeptical about the strength of the tines which often bend after heavy usage. Although my Peugeot is a bit weighty, it has much more of a classy appearance than any other ah so Ive seen and has been very durable in the past 3 years of service. I get compliments on it all the time. The price is similar to the monopol. The Durand is pretty much the best wine opener available. I cant wait to own one !
I like Franmara and Epic. I usually find them when in a Wine Region. You can find them on the Sales Rack in wine shops.
I've used the Durand many times with great success. It comes in a compact case however it is a bit large to try carrying it comfortably in your pocket. You will not find the need to use it everyday so you can keep it in a location whereby you're able to retrieve it when needed.
I'm a big fan of LetterKnife Opener...bit hard to find but works like a charm.
This picture needs a "Don't try this at home" caption.
Miquel hit the nail on the head with the Monopol. Solid product at a great price ($20-$25?).
Every restaurant that serves wines over 10 years old should own a Durand. It should be located in a secure location near the decanting station. I bought one for myself and never took it home. My staff knows not to open any bottles older than the 2010 vintage without it. It is an immense time saver when compared to breaking a cork in the middle of service and having to use cheesecloth to decant. I would recommend talking to the owner of your restaurant and getting them on board to pony up the $150. It's a smart investment for them as well.
My go to for the last couple years has been Le Creuset's Butler's Friend. It's steeply priced compared to others but has held up very well. I've gone as old as a 1980 and have yet to lose a cork, young or old. I like that the handle is a bit offset, ergonomic and narrower than others. And the color and finish of "black nickle" is very attractive. All metal, solid color all around. $64 on Amazon.
The Durand is worth it. It's literally never failed to pull a cork cleanly for me.
I have this one, a Monopol, and Durand - all good. I'm not sure I like the Le Creuset as much as the Monopol for personal use, but the design of the Le Creuset does have a great presentation for service.
I prefer the Franmara when opening aged Silver Oak. Epic for everything else.