It’s not for everybody, and it’s not even for every wine, but the Coravin is the “most transformational and exciting new product for wine lovers that has been invented in the last 30+ years”, according to Robert Parker. Jancis Robinson is another fan.
What is it?
In the words of its inventor, Greg Lambrecht, it is ‘A Wine Access System’. It allows you to access a bottle of wine without removing the cork. It operates like a syringe, sucking the wine out of the bottle through a needle and replacing the wine with argon gas. Because no oxygen has entered the bottle, the wine remains unaffected and can be accessed at any time in the future and will continue to age as normal.
Why bother with it?
It’s not for everybody, and not for every wine. But it does allow you to enjoy a glass of that special bottle without having to open and consume the entire bottle. It also allows you to check on the development of a wine you have put away, and see if it is ready for drinking yet.
Does it work?
The answer would seem to be a resounding yes. Wines that have been accessed ten years ago, during the development stages, are ageing as normal. Extensive blind tastings of ‘accessed’ and fresh bottles of the same wines have taken place and no discernible difference has been identifiable.
It only works on wines with natural corks, because of the way they spring back to close the hole made by the needle. Not really a downside, as the wines that it works best with tend to have natural corks anyway. It doesn’t work on sparkling wines. Care needs to be taken with older wines, as the cork can be quite brittle in some cases. A special needle is available for these wines. Also, wines with a lot of sediment (Ports in particular) need to accessed carefully. Each argon gas capsule is good for about 15 regular glasses of wine, and then needs to be replaced.
What do the critics say?
Robert Parker: ‘Coravin is the most transformational and exciting new product for wine lovers that has been developed/invented in the last 30+ years. Coravin is a killer product’.
Jancis Robinson: ‘Nothing I know of preserves wine in an open or ‘accessed’ bottle for years as this system does’.
Our Free Service
If you have a special bottle that you’ve been wondering about, bring it down to us and we can let you try a sip to check on its development.
€299. This includes two gas capsules. Replacement capsules cost €19.95 for a pack of 2.