tool_tirebouchon2Montegrappa – Italy’s oldest and most prestigious manufacturer of fine writing instruments – has spent its 104-year span in the heart of grappa country. But before there can be grappa, there must be the presence of one of Italy’s proudest creations: wine.

Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, and – for the last half-century – has added a category of international wines to its traditional greats, the noble Amarone, Barolo and Brunello, a host of new wines that rank with the finest the world can offer. But how could Montegrappa create a pen that exudes Italy’s love for fine wines, surely the drink of the Gods?

After the runaway success of the Grappa Pen, constructed from the materials used to distil that enchanting drink, it was apparent that wine, too, deserved a similar hommage. Made from the oak timber used in wine barrels, with stainless steel metalwork representing the hardware associated with winemaking, the new Tirebouchon pen reflects the materials associated with traditional wine-making.

“Tirebouchon” is French for “corkscrew”, and the use of this Gallic term as the name for the new pen appropriately pays tribute to the origins of the grapes that comprise many of the so-called “Super Tuscans”: wines grown in Tuscany but using French varietals associated with the great Bordeaux, along with Sangiovese grapes. The pen barrel and the cap are wine-barrel-shaped, with metal rings to represent those bands that hold the wooden staves in place.

For the pocket clip, Montegrappa’s designers formed diecast miniature of clusters of grapes on the vine in palladium-plated sterling silver. Inset into the cap’s top is an engraving of a grape leaf. The nib of the fountain pen is made of solid 18k gold and is embellished with the octagonal pattern that serves as Montegrappa’s motif.

This pen’s name also describes the surprise within. Hidden inside the pen body under the cap is a foldable corkscrew – fully functional and extremely strong, and a registered, proprietary design. Because of the space it occupies, the Tirebouchon fountain pen is fitted with only one ink-cartridge, while the refill of the rollerball is mini-size.

Strictly limited to only 100 fountain pens and 100 rollerball pens, Tirebouchon should be regarded as one would a once-in-a-lifetime vintage. Like a fine wine that improves with age, the real wood construction will acquire its own unique patina. Here, then, is a pen to savour.