We love the Coravin here at Vincarta towers. It’s a gadget that lets you draw wine from a bottle without uncorking it. It uses a needle to pressurise the bottle with inert argon and to pour out the wine. The clever bit is that the wine that stays in the bottle doesn’t oxidise so you can store it for months and re-Coravin it multiple times.
This is revolutionary because it means you don’t need to open a whole bottle to enjoy a glass of wine.
It’s easy to use, as this Coravin getting started video shows. The video lasts two minutes but actually using the device is much quicker than that. For example, we pour twelve glasses for tastings in a little more time than it would take to pull the corks on the six bottles.
We think that every wine lover needs Coravin in their life. Prices start at around £199 but for that you’ll get health, wealth and wisdom.
Health: a glass a day without opening a bottle a day
Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that ‘the alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent coronary artery disease, the condition that leads to heart attacks’.
In moderation – perhaps one glass a day – wine could be good for you. With Coravin, you can take your medicine at the right dosage level. There’s also less risk of opening a whole bottle and being tempted to take more medicine than is, ahem, good for you. The deleterious effects of drinking too much are well-known!
Wealth: a little of what you fancy
Coravin could spell the end of unopened ‘special occasion’ bottles. The economics of expensive wine change when you can pour a sample or a small glass without having to open the whole bottle. If you fancy a glass of Chateau Margaux or you want to try that super-Tuscan Sassicaia that you’ve been saving, you can do it. You can also mix and match different wines with different foods.
Similarly, in restaurants, we’re seeing progressive sommeliers offer a selection of samples or glasses from previously-unaffordable wine. For example, the wonderful 67 Pall Mall wine club has hundreds of wines available by the glass, thanks to Coravin. Similarly, the 28° – 50° Wine Workshop in London has a fabulous selection of Coravin wines, including a 99-point 1990 Chateau D’Yquem which we tried. It would take large party and a generous host to do justice to a whole bottle but a small tasting sample was a wonderful experience and (just about) affordable.
Wisdom: tasting lots of wines at once
Mirela and I taste a lot of wine for our blog and for our WSET Level III and Diploma studies. Doing a six or eight-bottle tasting between the two of us without Coravin is a very expensive proposition. But with Coravin, we can do the tasting and keep the bottles for future tastings.
So, for example, we can do a flight of Burgundy Chardonnays one week and then reuse one or two bottles in comparison with new world Chardonnays the next. It’s efficient and good for our studies.
What about the downsides?
The main downside is the cost. Not only do you have to buy the gadget in the first place but you also need to buy in a supply of argon capsules, each of which is enough for fifteen small glasses. At about £8 each, they’re just about cheap enough that it’s worth using Coravin on any bottle that costs more than £10 or so.
In testing, experts weren’t able to detect which wines were poured using a Coravin and which were not and none of glasses were ‘oxidised, un-servable or unexpectedly varied’. This discussion amongst professional sommeliers also gives the system a guarded thumbs up with plenty of tips from professional users.
Certainly, our experience with Coravin across hundreds of bottles has been hugely positive. In short, if you get good wine, get a Coravin.
Vincarta’s Coravin selection
We stock a number of Coravin products: