Montegrappa, manufacturer of superior writing instruments since 1912, have a rich history of producing some of the finest pens and have in more recent years been able to draw on the skills acquired over those years to produce a succession of extraordinary pieces that celebrate a range of events, people and products.
Calling upon the finest materials and with a twist of engineering expertise, Montegrappa have produced the Limited Edition Tire-Bouchon pen. The pen comes as either a fountain pen or rollerball and each is limited to 100 individually numbered pieces, thus ensuring exclusivity. But “Tire-bouchon” – what does it mean? It is actually French for corkscrew and my immediate thought was who in their right mind would call a pen a corkscrew, my next thought being why would an Italian luxury pen manufacturer not only call a pen a corkscrew but name it in French rather than Italian? A quick check of the Italian for corkscrew revealed that it is Cavatappi and let’s face it, “Montegrappa Cavatappi” does have a very nice Italian ring to it, however further research revealed that Cavatappi is more commonly known as a type of macaroni so I think Montegrappa were right to take the French route! The true wine experts amongst us will of course immediately get the connection in that this pen pays homage to the origins of the grapes that compromise many of the so-called ‘Super-Tuscans’; wines grown in Tuscany but using French varietals associated with the great Bordeaux, along with Sangiovese grapes.
But why call a pen a corkscrew – it certainly does not look like one! Well, the pen was designed to reflect the materials associated with traditional winemaking. The same organic oak timber that is used to make wine barrels forms the barrel and cap of the Montegrappa Tire-Bouchon, wrapped around with highly polished stainless steel straps giving this pen a reflection of an oak wine barrel. Like a fine wine that improves with age, the wood construction will acquire its own unique patina. The pocket clip is made from palladium plated sterling silver and takes the form of miniature bunches of grapes on the vine whilst inset into the cap’s top is an engraving of a vine leaf. The nib is of course solid 18ct gold and is tastefully engraved with the octagonal pattern that is Montegrappa’s motif.
The true surprise with the Tire-Bouchon is that the name does ring true as concealed within the barrel is an actual corkscrew, fully functional and extremely strong! Such is the engineering pride that Montegrappa have in this product, the whole mechanism has been registered as a proprietary design. There is no big ink capacity with this pen though as the mechanism occupies most of the barrel meaning international standard cartridges are the order of the day.
As can be seen from the Tire-Bouchon, the modern pen is something more than just a writing instrument – it has evolved as an objet d’art, a collectible, an accessory, a fashion statement, a rarity and an investment too. The Tire-Bouchon should be regarded as one would a once-in-a-lifetime vintage and like the price of such vintages, the Tire-Bouchon has a price to match. At just a shade under £3,000, this pen is not for the faint-hearted but then there are many excellent vintage wines sold at auction around this price which after just a few glasses are gone whereas the Tire-Bouchon can be treasured forever. I give it great value for money and I say every Somelier should have one…. Open a fine wine with your Tire-Bouchon, savour, take notes with your Tire-Bouchon, empty the bottle…. Open a fine wine….