“Ode to my Coravin”

Last night, Sonja and I heartily agreed on the fact that we both wanted a glass of wine, but our solidarity ended there. Sonja wanted a white wine, and I, well, I almost always seem to want red. A few years ago, this little impasse would have left one of us, most likely me, less than satisfied, but last night, Sonja had a Gewürztraminer and I had my Napa Cab, in fact, I had two different Napa Cabs, and we did this by only opening one bottle.

I remember the first time we were at Peju on Highway 29 in Napa. David Donati, whom I have since lost track of, showed us this device that would place a surgical needle through the cork of a wine bottle and remove the wine, replacing it with heavy gas. He said the wine would last forever. We were in awe.

Fast forward a year or two and I purchased that device, a Coravin, for myself. I was beginning to have so much wine coming in for review that at times I was opening half a dozen bottles nightly and a lot of beautiful wine was going to waste. It was an easy expense to justify, purchasing a Coravin. Mine (pictured) is the entry-level model, and you can get one for around $200.

For the lover of good wine, a Coravin is a pretty small investment. In addition to the machine, the gas capsules are around $8-$10 each, and last for quite a while (20-40 pours-ish). But honestly, I feel it saves me money. Here’s how:

If your nightly wine budget were $10, just to use a round figure, then you could drink one $10 bottle each night, or spread $30 bottles out over three nights and drink less of it. Either way, however, you’re left drinking the same wine, good or not, and a lot of those $10 bottles are getting harder for me to enjoy the more truly excellent wine I get to try. With the Coravin, for the same money and on that same budget, I can have one glass of truly excellent wine each night from bottles in the $50 range, and excellent $50 Napa Cabs are pretty ubiquitous. Best of all, it can be a different wine each night, and I can store the rest of it for later. Last night, I had a glass of 2011 Calafia, and a 2012 Meadowcroft Mt. Veeder, both of which are amazing, both of which I opened more than a year ago for the first time.

Coravins do deprive one of the ability to decant, as well as the wonderful sound of the pull of a cork, but the pragmatic side of me loves them for allowing me to drink far better wine than I otherwise might.

Please know that I don’t work for Coravin or have any other reason to endorse these space-age wine extractors aside from the fact that I really just love what they do. I have a few dozen Coravin’d bottles in my cellar, and I can go draw a glass from any one of them anytime I like. It’s a brilliant solution to the most first-world problem that I have, and I use it almost daily. If you love good wine, I suggest you invest in a Coravin. As always, I’d value your comments!




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