Coravin

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JacobH
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Coravin

Post by JacobH » 14:24 Sat 05 Mar 2016

I’ve seen a few mentions of coravins on :tpf: from when they were released but little discussion. I was therefore wondering what :tpf:’er experience with them has been?

Despite initially baulking at the price, I bought mine in July, and am fully converted. A lot of the discussion on the web has been about using them for long-term preservation of wine (e.g. having a glass a year or something) but that doesn’t seem to me to be the most useful function. Instead, I’ve found that it’s best at solving the problem of “I’d like to drink some nice Port but I don’t have the time to drink the whole bottle before it starts to fade” since it’s possible simply to draw a glass or two of wine and then put the bottle back in the cellar.

As a result, I’ve found I now usually have about 5 bottles on the go at once: a whiteI; a red; an old Port; a young Port; and something tawny; and can drink from them when I fancy. I also rather like being able to do spur of the moment comparison between ports and try some odder stuff where I couldn’t otherwise see myself drinking the whole bottle.

I haven’t, yet, had an exploding bottle, but I am a little concerned about the sediment. Since one has to lift the bottle to a higher angle then one would for normal pouring (so as to fill the neck completely), the sediment can get rather disturbed by the pouring. On one occasion, I managed to block the spout with a small piece; assumed that it was not pouring because of insufficient pressure; and therefore managed to overpressurise the bottle resulting in a bit of seepage over the next week. I’m not sure whether one of their smaller needles might help avoid this problem, although the flow rate is already very slow.

Is anyone else using one with any success?
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jdaw1
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Re: Coravin

Post by jdaw1 » 14:41 Sat 05 Mar 2016

Related thread: Coravin Experiment.
JacobH wrote:Is anyone else using one with any success?
Not I.

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Chris Doty
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Re: Coravin

Post by Chris Doty » 15:26 Sat 05 Mar 2016

jdaw1 wrote:Not I.
Nor me.

Welcome back JacobH - what's your excuse for not competing for the Doty Cup on the 17th?!

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JacobH
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Re: Coravin

Post by JacobH » 16:14 Sat 05 Mar 2016

Chris Doty wrote:Welcome back JacobH - what's your excuse for not competing for the Doty Cup on the 17th?!
Thanks. The 17th is a significant date for a significant other so I’m afraid that going Port drinking is always likely to be unlikely on that date. I’ll see if I can join in with some of the others in the coming months, though.
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LGTrotter
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Re: Coravin

Post by LGTrotter » 20:55 Sat 05 Mar 2016

Whilst I have nothing to add from personal experience there has been some discussion of this on the 'For the love of port' forum here. I did wonder how the sediment in port would affect this, so thank you for posting.

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JacobH
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Re: Coravin

Post by JacobH » 21:43 Sat 05 Mar 2016

LGTrotter wrote:Whilst I have nothing to add from personal experience there has been some discussion of this on the 'For the love of port' forum here. I did wonder how the sediment in port would affect this, so thank you for posting.
Someone on :ftlop: suggests pouring from the coravin’ed bottle whilst keeping it horizontal. This makes good sense, although once the level falls below, say 50-60% and so the needle is not longer completely submerged in the wine, you are probably still left with the same problem. I suppose one answer might be to have one of those racks they use in champagne for slowly increasing the angle at which the maturing wine is stored so as to encourage all the sediment to collect around the cork. That said, I think I was unlucky with my Guimaraens ’96: the coravin needle is rather nicely engineered with (I presume) a Teflon coating and a slit in the side (rather than the point) that doesn’t seem to snag on anything. I also haven’t had any problems with older or weaker bottles (albeit the most I’ve pushed it is with a leaking Graham’s ’70).
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AHB
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Re: Coravin

Post by AHB » 15:57 Tue 08 Mar 2016

Would it work if you inverted the bottle and allowed the sediment to settle into the neck of the bottle, resting against the cork? That way you could push the needle past the sediment into the clean liquid. Once the level of liquid fell to the point where you were in danger of drawing in sediment you could pull the cork and filter through coffee filter paper or muslin since it's likely you'd only have a glass or so left.

What are the bottles you have on the go at the moment?
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
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LGTrotter
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Re: Coravin

Post by LGTrotter » 14:32 Wed 09 Mar 2016

AHB wrote:Would it work if you inverted the bottle and allowed the sediment to settle into the neck of the bottle, resting against the cork?
I was always told that you shouldn't stand a wine on it's head.

I am interested to know if you think Coravined wines taste different? Also what does one do about decanting times?

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Re: Coravin

Post by ArtModern » 20:46 Wed 15 Nov 2017

I'm referencing Jacob H's & others use of their Coravin systems on port bottles. I'm admittedly not as educated as some of you when it comes to various brands, however the one I recently purchased, a 20 year old bottle of Graham's Tawny has the more usual cork stopper with a hard plastic top. As I'm sure you know the 10 & 30 year old bottles of Graham's & many other brands, some quite expensive, use the same style stopper. I did see other more esoteric brands that have only corks in them. No hard plastic (I assume it's plastic?) top holding the cork.

Jacob, you mention having about 5 bottles ready to drink at once with use of your Coravin. Should I assume none of them have the hard plastic-topped cork stopper & that there is no way to use a Coravin on my bottle of 20 year old or for that matter 30 year old Graham's or others that are not 100% cork or have you found a way to use your Coravin on my type of bottle? I gave my needle a bit of pressure & am fairly certain if I push harder my needle will break! If I'm missing something & there is a way to use a Coravin on a bottle like mine please let me know how. Thanks for any & all responses.

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AHB
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Re: Coravin

Post by AHB » 20:58 Wed 15 Nov 2017

Art,

The good news is that unless you are a very, very slow drinker you don't need to worry.

Tawny ports are aged in barrels, which means they are exposed to oxygen as they age. This means that they do not deteriorate very quickly when opened and, in fact, are meant to be opened and drunk fairly soon after bottling when they are at their freshest. Hence the "t-stopper" (the short cork with the wide, hard, plastic top) to close the bottle. It allows you to easily open the bottle, pour a glass and then reseal the bottle.

If you keep the bottle in the fridge, it will last a month.

Only if you really do expect to take more than a month to drink a tawny port do you need to start worrying about using a Coravin to keep the wine fresh. The Coravin is intended to be used on wines or ports which are more vulnerable to oxygen and which will deteriorate over the course of a few days or a week - like vintage port. And if you're drinking vintage port and taking more than a few days to finish a bottle, just let us know as there are other tricks we can share with you to keep it fresh for up to a month!

And by the way - welcome to the Port Forum. This is just the kind of question we love to talk about.

Alex
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

Glenn E.
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Re: Coravin

Post by Glenn E. » 21:00 Wed 15 Nov 2017

There's really no need to use a Coravin on a Tawny with an indication of age, i.e. a 10, 20, 30, or 40 Year Old Tawny. I routinely leave those on the kitchen counter after opening and they easily last a week to 10 days with only very slight degradation. If kept in the refrigerator, they should easily keep for a month. I drink Port much more slowly than many others here on this forum, yet I have no trouble finishing a bottle before it has "gone south" from being open too long.

That said, if you really want to use a Coravin on those types of Port, you'll need to replace the t-stopper with a regular cork. As you surmised, attempting to force the Coravin's needle through the plastic cap will most likely break the needle so is not recommended. Simply remove the t-stopper and immediately replace it with a cork of your choice. If you want to really go overboard, squirt a little gas from the Coravin into the top of the bottle before inserting the replacement cork.
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Re: Coravin

Post by Glenn E. » 21:01 Wed 15 Nov 2017

Ahh... ninja'd by AHB. :-)
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AHB
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Re: Coravin

Post by AHB » 21:05 Wed 15 Nov 2017

Glenn E. wrote:
21:01 Wed 15 Nov 2017
Ahh... ninja'd by AHB. :-)
:wink:

You have much more experience with tawny port than me, nice to know I am learning from the master!
Top Port in 2017 (so far): Graham Stone Terraces 2015 and Quinta do Vesuvio 1994
2016 Port of the year: Cockburn 1908

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RonnieRoots
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Re: Coravin

Post by RonnieRoots » 21:31 Wed 15 Nov 2017

So far, the cost has prevented me from buying a coravin, although I really do like the idea. I did however back the kickstarter campaign of this new device as I think it's quite a cool innovation. Will find out if and how well it works when I get mine in a couple months time.

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Re: Coravin

Post by ArtModern » 21:57 Wed 15 Nov 2017

Thanks for all of your prompt replies. Learned a lot. Thought there may be a way to use my Coravin with the original stopper in place, not having to remove it to replace it with a cork. Oh well. Will open my bottle & have some now!

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Re: Coravin

Post by DaveRL » 23:23 Wed 15 Nov 2017

RonnieRoots wrote:
21:31 Wed 15 Nov 2017
So far, the cost has prevented me from buying a coravin, although I really do like the idea. I did however back the kickstarter campaign of this new device as I think it's quite a cool innovation. Will find out if and how well it works when I get mine in a couple months time.
That does look a very interesting thing. I've just backed it too! Thanks.

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jdaw1
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Re: Coravin

Post by jdaw1 » 23:24 Wed 15 Nov 2017

AHB wrote:
20:58 Wed 15 Nov 2017
Only if you really do expect to take more than a month to drink a tawny port do you need to start worrying about using a Coravin
Disagree. The bottle mentioned in the next quotation had been open about a decade, and showed very well.
JacobH wrote:
21:49 Sun 30 Aug 2009
The agéd Sandeman tawny only goes to reinforce my belief that these wines do improve with time in glass.

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Re: Coravin

Post by ArtModern » 23:46 Thu 16 Nov 2017

I'm a single guy & don't know that I'd finish an expensive bottle of Tawny in a few weeks or even a month so I decided to try an experiment that worked like a charm, at least for me, after speaking to a very knowledgeable customer service person at Coravin. He agreed that there is obviously no way to use the needle through the plastic.

I carefully drilled a 1/4" hole thru the plastic cork stopper top just down to the cork. Did my best to make sure there was no cork residue & inserted my Coravin needle through the hole. While I had to angle the Coravin slightly due to the Graham's neck being somewhat larger than a wine bottle's I had no problem. I have a second thinner needle it was suggested I use but forgot to do so. Still, the Coravin worked perfectly. Afterwards I turned the bottle upside down & shook it a bit to make sure the needle hole had sealed. No port came through at all. I did notice two tiny pieces of cork in the bottle however I believe they were there because I acted too hastily in blowing out the drilled hole. Next time I'll probably rinse it out or perhaps use a portable hair dryer to blow out any tiny pieces. Also will use my thinner needle that is recommended for vintage corks. Otherwise my experiment worked perfectly. If you try it just don't drill farther than through the plastic top. Go just to where you hit cork. Will do it again with another, perhaps more expensive bottle!

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Re: Coravin

Post by ArtModern » 00:54 Fri 17 Nov 2017

Quick additional note: Went back to my bottle. Noticed that because the cork is so soft I went a bit too deep with my drill bit. Hence bits of cork were cut. If anyone attempts this make sure you do not go beyond the plastic as best you can. Tread lightly! Also if you drill your hole a little off center but not so far as to be outside the top of the cork where it's held by the plastic top grippers you do not have to tilt your Coravin despite the thick bottle neck. Otherwise seems to work fine. Had a second 'taste.' LOL

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AHB
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Re: Coravin

Post by AHB » 21:55 Mon 20 Nov 2017

Great advice and shared experience for anyone thinking of using a Coravin on tawny ports. Thanks for sharing your learnings.

And please say what you think of hte tawny ports you drink. It's always useful to hear what other people think about the range of tawny ports that are on the market.
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g-man
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Re: Coravin

Post by g-man » 20:10 Wed 22 Nov 2017

Have folks done any controlled experiments with the coravin? I know for quevedo's 20 year, the taste changed in coravin'ed bottles after about 3 months.
There was an opportunity for me to open two bottles, so i opened the coravin'ed bottle and a new bottle. The newer bottle was definitely fresher but the coravin'ed bottle was certainly stable and tasted fruitier then a bottle that would have been left open.

And tawnies definitely degrade after 2 weeks. I was pitching the Quevedo reserve tawny to a restaurant and gave them a near full sample bottle that I was walking around with. I came back 2 weeks later and happened to have another bottle and tried them side by side. There was a marked difference in freshness.

The best method, I feel, that folks here have introduced me is to open the bottle and immediately draw off half into an empty half bottle for future consumption.
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Re: Coravin

Post by Andy Velebil » 03:19 Thu 23 Nov 2017

From what I've read on other wine boards is Coravin works good until the bottle gets to about 2/3 to 1/2 full. Then the contents degrade quite quickly after that. So it works great for the first few pours.


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