Preservation for the People
Dumping out wine that has gone bad from being open too long is always a sad event. Fortunately, within the past decade, technological advancements have been made in order to help us preserve open bottles and enhance our drinking experiences. Matthew-Loren Lindsey is a sommelier and the Market Specialist for Coravin in Nevada. We recently sat down with him to discuss how Coravin got its start as well as the latest technological advancements in the field of wine preservation and consumption.
How long has the Coravin been around and what is its primary purpose?
Coravin was founded in 2011 by a medical device engineer with the intention of reinventing the way we experience wine. Since the beginning of time there has only been one way to open wine. We have been conditioned by tradition to take the cork out of the bottle to be able to enjoy it. Thus, creates the problem. Oxidation begins the second oxygen comes in contact with wine and there is no way to stop that chemical process.
Instead of being forced to finish that bottle in one evening, or risk it going bad on your countertop, you now have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your bottled wine by the glass.
What type of gas canister does the Coravin utilize? Does this gas affect the wine at all?
Coravin uses Ultra-Pure Argon gas sourced from Austria to pressurize and propel the wine through the system. Argon is one of the six noble gasses and is inert which means it can’t chemically bond to anything in the atmosphere, including your wine. You can be rest assured that it will not change the nose, flavor profile or aging of your wine.
Are Coravins only to be used for wines with authentic cork closures?
You will get the most benefit of using your Coravin system when used on a natural wood cork. Because of its natural spongy and elastic properties, the cork will self-seal immediately after withdrawing the needle out of it. You are then able to store your wine on its side in your cellar or countertop for later use.
Coravin can be used on synthetic corks; however, because this type of cork does not self-seal naturally, it is highly suggested to store your bottle upright and not on its side, as the cork may not seal fully. Coravin also suggests that you finish your synthetic corked wine within seven days.
What types of wine work, or hold up, best with a Coravin and why?
That’s the beautiful thing about using your Coravin system; you don’t have to think about it! Coravin doesn’t discriminate and it can be used on a wide variety of wines. New world to old world, young wines to old wines, red wines and white wines.
What do you feel is the number one mistake people make when using a Coravin?
Hands down the number one mistake customers make is over pressurizing the bottle. Coravin uses Argon gas which has a dual purpose: first, to pressurize the bottle and propel the wine through the Coravin system and second, to protect the wine from oxidizing. Time and time again I see customers holding down the trigger for five to ten seconds, which isn’t necessary and only wastes gas.
Best practice is to insert your Coravin tip and hold the trigger for a one-one thousand, two-one thousand count and then release. Your bottle will be sufficiently pressurized and your wine will freely pour. Using this method will ensure you get the most out of your argon capsule, which is rated to give you 15 glasses of wine when used properly.
Is there a particular Coravin model that you would suggest over the others for restaurant versus personal use?
Functionally, all the systems do the same thing. One thing to consider when using Coravin in a restaurant setting is tableside service versus well service. I highly recommend servers to pour wine tableside using the Coravin system as it adds a unique presentation element and really brings the “wow” factor. The Model Two comes in a bevy of colors to help accent the theme and style of your restaurant.
When utilizing a Coravin for a wine that would normally need to be decanted, what is the best technique to aerate the pour?
Coravin has created a custom aerator that retrofits on any of their systems. It perfectly aerates and opens your wine in seconds by using the system’s pressure to force the wine through 24 carefully sized holes. These 24 streams of wine increase the surface area of oxygen in contact with the wine giving you a full one hour decant in seconds from bottle to glass.
Over the past few years we have seen an increase in “Sommelier’s Choice” wine lists and the utilization of Coravin for high-end BTG offerings. What is the craziest wine that you have seen on such a list?
Coravin has taken an intentional approach to partnering with large restaurant groups to implement high end “by the glass” programs to offer customers the chance to enjoy wines that are typically sold exclusively by the bottle. It is not uncommon to see cult wines like Opus One, Nickel and Nickel, Quintessa, Gaja, Romanee-Conti as well as other boutique wines from all four corners of the world BTG, thanks to Coravin.