Accessories: Coravin, wine preservation system.

The wine world has no shortage of gimmicks and poorly executed half-baked ideas based on pseudo-science. As such, I always approach any wine accessories with a healthy dose of skepticism. Those that truly prove to be effective and demonstrate their value over and over ultimately make it on here.

The Coravin wine preservation system is the most recent of these. This is an essential tool for any wine enthusiast. Before I had a Coravin I would take a chance on some of my most prized bottles of wine – half the time only to realize that I should have let the wine age longer. This is especially frustrating because a lot of my reserve wines are no longer in production as they were very small production batch wines, made by artisan wine makers who have since retired or left the wine making business all together. Some of them I bought when they were young, a bargain and if they are still available they have likely multiplied in price.

The Coravin system in fairly self explanatory. It has an Argon gas injection needle attached to a plunger. The needle effortlessly pierces the cork and allows you to extract a little wine while replacing it with inert gas, all the while without disturbing the cork. If you have a collection anything like mine, a Coravin would pay for itself in 2-3 uses easily and this is not an exaggeration by any stretch.

I have been evaluating a Coravin from one of my fellow winesnobs for over a year and finally decided to add one to my cellar. Here are some of my thoughts for your consideration:

  • You must always keep the needle clean and sanitized. I rinsed/flushed the Coravin after every use. Before use, I took the needle off and dipped it in alcohol or SO2 solution (yes I used to make wine). If you keep using it without properly cleaning the needle, your wine will end up spoiling (turning to vinegar) as you introduce external contaminants and bacterial cultures.
  • The gas cans do last a while. I used maybe two over a the course of a year. However it’s a good idea to keep extra handy.
  • Don’t waste your Coravin serving out wine. Use it for checking up on a bottle. If you are going to be pouring multiple glasses of wine, you should consider opening and drinking the whole bottle or use a Vacuvin stopper to preserve it for a few more days or week.
  • It is a well engineered, high quality product that should last a very long time. The one seen here is the Limited Edition II purchased off Amazon. There is a slightly lower priced model, however they all perform the same. No mater the model, I feel they are all worth having in your wine tool set. I have provided a link for you below if you are interested. If you use my links, I may get a small commission.

CORAVIN (via Amazon.com)
Coravin Limited Edition II Advanced Wine Preservation System and Bottle Opener, Includes 4 Argon Capsules and Display Base, Starry Night

Accessories: Stemless Aerating Wine Glasses

Hi Folks! I’d like to say a little about this not so little accessory I have been using for a while now (at least 6 months). I want to talk about the Stemless Aerating Wine Glass by Chevalier. I’m extremely skeptical when it comes to wine accessories as I generally find them wholly ineffective and unnecessary. They very often come across to me as expensive gimmicks designed to fool your better judgement and generally take advantage of inexperienced wine enthusiasts.

Well that was the perspective I took when I first spotted this particular accessory over a year go. I held off for at least 6 months before ordering one myself. The short version of this story is: it is way more more effective than it looks. For once I found a wine accessory that actually lives up to and exceeds it’s promise.

Over the last 6 months I have done side-by-side tests with all manner of wine aerators and decanters. The best case scenario has been, this glass gets you an hour head start out of the bottle. The worst case scenario is still a 15 minute head start compared to decanting. I am not exaggerating my estimates. At first blush it looks ridiculous, over-the-top and unbelievable. Then you pour your first glass an it hits you.

This has become an indispensable tool in my wine evaluations and reviews, instantly unlocking all the flavors and layers hidden within each vintage on demand. I highly recommend this wine glass for anyone who has any appreciation for wine no matter how sophisticated or unsophisticated.

You can find this accessory on Amazon.com. Just follow the links below: