I was planning on buying some nice wine glasses for my dad, but that whole endeavor nervouses me with all those different lines for all the different types of wines.
Instead, I'm now planning on buying him a nice wine opener. Which one's considered the best wine opener? The only nice wine opener I've heard of is the Rabbit, but I don't know if that's due to their marketing or quality.
There are some great ones out there that get pricey! If you are looking for something really nice, consider Chateau Laguiole. They can easily run over $200. -mJ
The Laguiole wine opener is very nice and has some prestige. It is, however, only a one-hinge model. I really like the double-hinge openers (what Steve_K called 2-step).
The Rabbit is the poor man's version of the Leverpull.
If you dad has old bottles in his collection (if he has a collection), then a nice ah-so opener would be a good second gift in addition to whatever other opener you give him. But get a sturdy ah-so; not one with flimsy tines.
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Can we assume that you understand that the Rabbit and Leverpull are different kinds of openers than the 'waiters friend' type whether they're $5 basics or $200 Laguiloes ? The lever action of the Rabbit style is easier to use for most people so, if there's an issue of hand strength with your Dad, that type should work more easily for him.
For an inexpensive, simple device I'd agree that the any two-step Pulltap Brand waiters friend is best.
I've had a $100 Leverpull for years...... used it for the first few months and put it away in favor of the two-step. I tried using it in the tasting bar we owned and had so much trouble with the 'worm' (screw part) being hard to get off many types of man-made corks after opening that I stopped using it. It got all corks out well but I didn't have the time to wrestle so many 'corks' off of it.
I, too, have never been able to master the AhSo. Seemed like too much work to learn how.
Can't speak for the Rabbit, but the Leverpull (AKA Screwpull) has a self-ejecting cork mechanism. Pull the cork, bring the lever back toward its original position until it audibly clicks, pull the lever forward again to eject the cork. I rarely (almost never) have problems with corks resisting this built-in ejector--occasionally a synthetic cork will be very tight, but they twist off the teflon-coated screw manually with a little effort if necessary. To each his own. I regard the Leverpull as a simple rack-and-pinion Occam's Razor of a cork puller and love its precision design and split-second performance.
My go-to portable corkscrew is the Pulltaps waiter's friend that has also been mentioned. Can be found nearly everywhere for <$10, but also available in higher level gift-quality versions with a little searching. Equal to nearly all challengers at a very affordable price.
I think the 'stuck' synthetic cork' issue with LeverPulls and Houdinis is probably that either the Teflon-coated worm needed to be replaced, OR it may be that the Teflon itself was the problem. In either case, stuck corks was a continuing time waster in a place where we were opening a dozen bottles a day.