There are quite a lot of wine preservation systems on the market these days, and for wine lovers and professionals this has become a blessing. For those occasions that you just want to enjoy one particular glass of wine, as an opportunity to offer more wines by the glass to your customers or if you are working in wine trade and want to get the most out of your tasting bottles. There are numerous occasions when you want a wine to last longer without losing its quality.
Until recently however this only worked for still wines, but now Coravin brings wine preservation to the world of sparkling wines.
Coravin is one of the leaders in this industry and probably has the best system in the market. They have been selling their product for years now, and it is accepted even by the best professionals in the world, being used for wines that cost up to thousands of euros per bottle.
A while ago we got the opportunity to attend the press launch of a new system that Coravin has put into the market, the Coravin Sparkling, about which we wrote earlier. This new family member of the Coravin family promised to deliver the same high-grade experience has the regular Coravin, which is only to be used for still wines, but now for sparkling wines.
During the event we blind tasted a number of Champagnes next to each other, in pairs. One glass would be poured from a freshly opened bottle and another one from a bottle that has been preserved for 2 weeks with the Coravin system.
In the test we could not detect any difference and there was consensus in the panel that the mousse, taste and smell where identical. Mission accomplished one would say! But (how) does this work in real life we wondered? Our friends at Coravin wanted to help us answer this question and sent us over a Coravin Sparkling. And now it is time for us to tell you about our experience!
Like we said, the idea of a wine preservation system such as Coravin is to maintain the lifetime of an opened bottle of wine and its quality. Coravin has a track record that goes back years in doing that. It is safe to say that it is the number one solution in the world used for this purpose, preserving wines for years after opening. All of this has been working well for still wines, but nobody had come up with a solution for more complex sparkling wines.
The idea of the Coravin Sparkling is that it builds on the technique of the original Coravin but with years of additional development, and changes to the system, it evolved into a solution that is dedicated for sparkling wines.
The system uses the Coravin itself plus specially designed stoppers and capsules. The stoppers you will use for a bottle that has been opened and the capsules are filled with a CO2 gas preserving the wine, this is the same kind of gas which is normally in a bottle of sparkling.
When you buy a Coravin sparkling you will get:
- The Coravin Sparkling System itself
- 2 Coravin Sparkling Stoppers, you need one for each bottle
- 6 Coravin Pure Sparkling CO2 capsules, one preserves about 7 bottles
- 1 Protection bag for a wine bottle
Using the system, you can preserve about 7 bottles with one capsule and Coravin tells you it will preserve the wine for a minimum of about 4 weeks. Did we hit those results? Let’s see in our review.
First off, we would like to take our hat off for Greg Lambrecht who is the founder and inventor of Coravin. We got the opportunity to meet Greg in Amsterdam at the press launch and where really impressed by his genius, passion and drive. All the hard work he has put in over many years to create the Coravin was already admirable, but what he pulled off with this new product is unparalleled.
He told us that it became sort of an obsession to bring the Coravin experience to the world of sparkling wines. It literally took him years to find the right technique and come up with this solution but he never gave up! And now it is here. The question? Does it work?
As mentioned we got a complete Coravin Sparkling system from Coravin themselves, to test it out in the comfort of our own home. This was important for us because it allowed us to choose the circumstances in which we use the system, store the wine and of course pick the wine.
For this occasion, we went with a special Sekt from Reichsrat von Buhl in Germany’s Pfalz region. This is an established sparkling producer and the wine we choose is the special edition Blanc de Blancs Prestige Sekt made from Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. The reason why we picked this was the complexity and freshness of this wine. It is produced with extensive lees contact over a long period (80 months), creating a beautiful complexity but also offering freshness because of the varieties used. A perfect combination and opportunity to see if it would stand the test of time, and to see if the Coravin Sparkling would deliver.
We put the bottle cold and made sure it was at the right temperature, after which we unpacked the Coravin. With a couple of simple instructions, including an instruction video that was easily accessible through a QR code, we figured out how the system works in a heartbeat. Kuddos for that Coravin!
First, we put a capsule in the Coravin so that it was ready for action. After that we went through our normal procedure of opening the bottle of Sekt. We poured two glasses and put one of the supplied stoppers on the bottle. For the next step we put the Coravin on top and made sure it was locked tight.
It has to be said that we needed a bit of force for that, which almost made us feel we broke it at one point, but we got it where it needed to be. What definitely helps here is the fact that there are high grade materials used for the stoppers and Coravin so breaking it would have been really hard, even if we wanted to.
After putting the Coravin on top we filled the bottle with CO2, which really was the easy part. Now it was time for us to enjoy our Sekt and put the bottle away in the fridge.
According to Coravin we should still be good after four weeks so waited and after a month we took the bottle out. With some guidance we managed to carefully lift the stopper so some of the CO2 could leave the bottle. After that it was easy to take the stopper off and we poured ourselves a glass of that beautiful Sekt.
And yes, ladies and gentlemen, it worked! The fine mousse was very much alive, and vibrant like it was opened for the first time. Moving on to the nose there was no notable difference and we picked up all the aromas in the same intensity as we did four weeks earlier. To conclude, the taste. On par. Fresh and complex, with perfect acidity and a lingering aftertaste. The Coravin Sparkling did exactly what it promised, something we could not really believe when we first heard of this product.
But… We did not stop there! As we did not plan on finishing the whole bottle we thought we should try to stretch the lifetime of this bottle with another two weeks, bringing it up to six weeks in total. So, after two more weeks it was time for the Coravin to deliver again. And believe it or not, it did. After two openings and six weeks it was as fresh as a newly popped bottle. Delivering beyond promise.
When initially launched the price of this Coravin was on the high side if you ask us. Professional users (sommeliers and people in the wine trade) could probably deal with it, especially as it can be deducted as company cost, but for the broad audience it was just too expensive at around €459. It is a fact that most people drink more still wines so it is no surprise that the regular Coravin has found its way to a broader market in the meanwhile. It has to be said that when the original Coravin was launched it was probably at the same price as this Sparkling was at its launch.
But… Already at the launch said that he always wanted his products to be available for a large audience, and that he would lower the price as soon as this was economically possible. You have to keep in mind that these products take years to develop and refine, a cost that simply needs to be recuperated. And Greg and Coravin kept their word. The price has significantly been lowered and now we see the Sparkling at a price point where it really becomes interesting for a wide audience. At the moment you can get the system under €300 and that we think is an excellent match with the value it gives you.
The system itself is easy to use, high quality and very versatile since it serves a wide range of bottles. When it comes to the operational side of the Coravin Sparkling we really got blown away. We pushed this thing well beyond the promised four weeks and it delivered. An impressive performance, with no loss of mousse, smell and taste. Because of this we are very comfortable to recommend this product, and we actually see that it can play an important role in the education of wine lovers. It will upgrade the quality and diversity of the wines people taste, and that is what we believe is important; drink better wines, not necessarily more.
The only downside that might remain is the cost of the capsules, but good wines (often coming at a higher price) are simply worth it if you ask us.
For us this was the invention of the year. The performance and versatility are simply stunning and Coravin remains to maintain the gold standard it set themselves in the market for wine preservation systems. With lowered pricing this product has become in reach of a wide audience and we are excited how this will help wine lovers to discover more sparkling wines and enjoy them for a longer period of time. As to professionals in the wine industry; this opens a whole new palette of possibilities and can tremendously increase ROI or spending in your business.
Below some plusses and minuses that came up after our testing:
+ Works with different bottles and formats (half, regular and magnum)
+ Works for different sorts of sparkling wines, not just Champagne
+ Delivers as promised and even goes beyond that
+ Portable and easy to use
– A bit of force is needed to operate the system
– Relatively expensive (
€ 449,99 but now discounted to €299,99)
– Price and ROI of the capsules (1 capsule preserves max 7 bottles)
Discover more about the Coravin Sparkling system on their website or Instagram page. The Coravin Sparkling is available for a discounted price at the moment, in Europe you will pay €299,99 instead of the launch price that was
€449,99. This might make the Coravin Sparkling this years perfect Christmas gift for all you sparkling lovers!