Over the years, we wine lovers have all been inundated with pitch after pitch from companies trying to sell us wine preservation systems. Some use pumps, some use gas, and one even encases your entire bottle in a wine coffin, along with tubes reaching into your bottle like something out of Frankenstein’s lab. In the end, no one seems to have been able to pull it off without a hitch. Suction doesn’t last, inert gas isn’t perfect in an open bottle, and not everyone can afford an Enomatic tasting machine (which isn’t perfect any way). In the end, most of us had simply accepted the fact that there was no perfect system—until now, because now we have the Coravin.
Coravin hit the market in 2013 to an audience of very skeptical collectors and wine lovers. Why were we so skeptical? Simple, because we had all heard it before. However, what was different about Coravin is that its creators were more than willing to display the unit’s functionality and repeatedly pour from bottles that had been accessed two, three, and even six months prior. Just so we are clear, I’m talking about bottles where a glass or more of wine had been removed months in advance yet didn’t show any sign of decline.
The process is simple. First, the Coravin inserts a tiny needle into the cork of the bottle. You then turn the bottle, as if to pour a glass a wine. A quick flip of a switch pressurizes the bottle with inert gas, which allows wine to pour freely into your glass. Once the bottle is returned to the upright position, the Coravin automatically tops off the inert gas in the bottle. The needle is then easily removed by the user, and the cork reseals itself with the argon gas trapped safely inside the bottle…simple, right? It really is, and the process I just explained only takes moments to complete.
So here we are two years since its release, and the Coravin has become a tool used throughout the industry. Restaurants are using them for high-end glass pours, auction houses use them to evaluate potential purchases, and sales reps use them to show their wares. However, even to this day, some people remain skeptical.
It’s because of this that Coravin holds a routine tasting event which would put even the most suspicious wine lover at ease. The idea is simple: a collection of wine lovers and industry pros get to use the Coravin on a number of unopened wines and taste through them. As you taste, you sign your name on the bottle with the date. Six months later, the same group is brought back to taste the wines again, except this time blind and placed against a previously unopened bottle of the same wine. Six months after that, the tasting is repeated. I believe it’s safe to say that Coravin believes wholeheartedly in their product, and quite frankly, so do I.
Just think about this for a moment, as the possibilities are endless.
Imagine not having to open a young bottle of wine to test for maturity; instead you can simply try one glass (Coravin’s creator attested to tasting the same wine over fifteen years).
Imagine having a tasting at your home and the leftover wine being completely safe and able to be stored away until you feel like enjoying it again.
Imagine having an entire rack of your best wines accessible at any time. You choose the lineup each night.
Coravin truly is the next evolution in wine preservation; it’s not just hype. Get ready for a paradigm shift.
Check out The Coravin at Morrell Wine.
As for the wines I’ll be checking back on in six months, the notes are below:
2006 Château Lafon-Rochet – The nose showed intense red berry and cedar with minty herbal tones adding freshness. On the palate, it showed soft, supple textures with red currant and wild berry fruits, licorice and tarry tannin providing grip and balance. It was long on concentrated red berry and herbs throughout the finish. The ’06 Lafon-Rochet was very pleasant and easy to like. (90 points)
2012 Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir San Andreas Fault – The nose showed woodland and herbal tones with intense, crushed wild berry, hints of spice, and refreshing citrus note. On the palate, it was youthfully firm with a finessed, feminine frame, showing red berry and inner floral tones. The finish showed floral and undergrowth with hints of soil and minerals. Very nicely done. (92 points)
2009 Kühling-Gillot Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Großes Gewächs – It’s rare that I open a tasting note with the word, WOW—but here it applies. The nose showed a perfectly balanced and intense mix of fruit, mineral and funk, with Tete de Moine (cheese), lemon, crushed stone, chalk dust and spiced orange peel. On the palate, it showed ripe peach, pineapple and melon with a coating of minerality and rejuvenating waves of fresh acidity. The finish was long and intense, as the funky notes returned (do I detect a hint of Botrytis) along with citrus and minerals. (93 points)
2009 Azienda Bricco Asili (Ceretto) Barbaresco Bernardot – The nose showed a ripe, yet otherwise classic nose of dark red fruits, crushed strawberry, cedar, and sweet spice. On the palate, I found smooth, almost silky textures cut by a core of concentrated red berry fruit and a vibrant lash of acidity. Dark soil and inner floral tones lingered long on the finish with a hint of dried cherry. This didn’t show the overt ripeness of the year, in fact, it performed very well. (90 points)
Article and tasting notes by: Eric Guido