Remember the time you had a glass of your US$1,300 bottle of Chateau Latour Pauillac 2005, only to find that it had gone vinegary in the fridge when you went back for another a week later? We've all been there. Coravin, LLC of Burlington, Massachusetts makes having a glass from the dustier end of the wine rack a bit less expensive with its Coravin 1000 Wine Access System, which allows you to pour a glass out of a bottle without having to finish the lot, watching it go off, or even removing the cork.
Wine is a complicated beverage that needs care and time to mature; especially the upmarket reds. Properly bottled and stored, it’s in a fairly happy environment. However, once the cork is pulled, oxygen floods in and that sets up a series of chemical reactions that can turn a perfect vintage into cooking wine overnight. That’s no problem for a bottle that’s opened and finished over dinner or some vin ordinairie that’s notable for being so robust you can store it in a jerry can, but for finer varieties it can severely restrict when you can have a glass.
The Coravin 1000 gets around the whole oxidation problem by not popping the cork. This feat is accomplished with a needle, which is inserted through the foil capsule and the cork into the bottle. A flask in the Coravin 1000 then squirts a shot of argon gas into the bottle. Since argon is an inert gas, it doesn't affect the wine, but the pressure allows the wine to pour through the hollow needle without letting any air come back in. When the needle is removed, the cork expands to seal the hole and the wine can carry on maturing for years.
According to Coravin, the system doesn't just mean you can have a sip out of that bottle you bought in a fit of madness at an auction. It also means that guests can be served several different vintage wines in the one sitting, so those who don’t have a head for red wine don’t have to settle for the supermarket chardonnay. The company also sees the system as a way for restaurants to expand their cellars without hurting their profit margins and for wine tastings to be a bit more ambitious.
The Coravin 1000 is available now in the US for $299.
The video below introduces the Coravin system