Louis Pasteur, the renowned 19th-century French chemist, famously dissed oxygen as “the enemy of wine.”
More than a century later, another man of science has come up with a product that bottles up Pasteur’s and other oenophiles’ concerns about oxygen’s degradation of wine’s taste once and for all.
Former MIT nuclear engineer and vascular technologist Greg Lambrecht is the inventor of the Coravin™ Wine Access System, a device that lets you extend the life of virtually any wine bottle’s contents without popping the cork.
As the company’s website puts it: “Wine enthusiasts can now enjoy wine sealed with corks without feeling the need to commit to the whole bottle, allowing them to explore wines of any vintage, varietal or region, one taste at a time.”
Don’t toss your corkscrews just yet. At $299, the Coravin system won’t be a staple for everyone with a wine rack. But if you’re an aficionado or have a wine cellar, the Argon gas-injecting Coravin is sure to be on your wish list. Critics can’t stop raving about it.
“As far as I can tell, it is poised to completely revolutionize fine wine service,” blogger Alder Yarrow predicted on www.vinography.com. “The existence of this device represents a threshold in the wine industry over which we have passed, and will never return.”
“Nothing I know of preserves wine in an opened or ‘accessed’ bottle for years as the Coravin system does,” wine critic Jancis Robinson posted in a review on her site.
In a nutshell, it works like this: The system inserts a thin, medical-grade needle through the cork to access and pour the wine, leaving the cork intact. Press a trigger, and an attached capsule fires the Argon gas, displacing the amount of wine poured out of the bottle. A 3-ounce pour takes about three trigger pulls. After the needle is removed, the cork reseals and continues to protect the wine.
Each capsule lets you pour up to 15 5-ounce glasses. Prices range from $10.95 per capsule to $214 for a 24-pack. Different needles are available as well to accommodate various cork types, and range from $29.95 to $69.95. All can be purchased from the company’s website.
Restaurants are snapping up Coravins as well. The system allows them to store wine longer without having to worry about the contents spoiling if a full bottle isn’t consumed. That’s good for their bottom lines as well as giving customers a consistent flavor experience. The Coravin site even offers Google maps showing restaurants, retailers and wineries that use the system.
If Monsieur Pasteur were still around, he probably would describe the whole oxygen-displacing system as breathtaking.