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25th September 2014

Some Sensational Wines with Coravin

18 September 2014 in London

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the new wine sealing device, Coravin.
I like it, and I like innovation even more. I wish them every success, although I haven’t had much opportunity to use mine. I seem to be able to finish a bottle off over the course of a day or three, and most wines worth ageing actually taste better the day after opening (provided resealed, kept cool or vacuvin-ed etc). But for restaurants to be able to serve fine wines by the glass, for tasting and selling very expensive wines and for monitoring progress, this device seems perfect and very useful.

The founder of the company, Greg Lambrecht, was over in London at the same time as the Institute of Masters of Wine AGM, which I was attending, and he had organised a tasting. I must say, the company is really putting its money where its mouth is. Literally in fact. We were given the chance to taste some extraordinarily good wines, from six different bottles, each drawn through Coravin and therefore left unopened. We initialled the labels after we had done so. We will be given the opportunity to try the same wines, from those bottles, and untouched control bottles, at various points over the future, and we will be invited to see whether we have detected any deterioration or change in the wines that have used Coravin and therefore have been stored under the inert gas, Argon.


I also learned a few extra things about the system that were of great use. These included that that wines with sediment should be left horizontal during the process and then the sediment will not get into the glass (a potential issue that had occurred to me as sediment will travel through the needle), and that – rather as with beer – the wine should be poured onto the side of the glass to avoid appearing to become slightly gaseous and bubbly.

The wines were all of world class quality, and it was fantastic to be able to taste them at all, let alone as part of this interesting experiment. Greg’s very obvious passion for wine was also on show, and irrespective of anyone’s opinion of the device, spending time in the company of such a collection of wine lovers was a pleasure, and we enjoyed an excellent lunch at a restaurant called 28-50 in Mayfair (highly recommended), which was accompanied by yet more great wine.

Here are my notes exactly as typed onto the ipad. Please forgive any lack of prose quality!

Chablis 1er Cru La Foret Dauvissat 2011
Super intense aromas of lime, balsa, stone and green pear. Very classy and inviting. Delicious if very young in the mouth with super extracted mineral and stone. Superb and very long ****5

Sancerre Caillottes François Cotat 2012
Intense, minerally and limey nose. Elegant and very fresh. Stony and floral. Exceptional depth and integration. Great acidity and balance. Stony and minerally length. Exceptional finish. ****

Maximin Grünhäuser Abstberg Riesling Superior Von Schubert 2009
A little cheesy and sulphur on first scent. Elderflower and citrus with honeysuckle and some green apple. Off dry (maybe 40g/L) beautifully balanced acidity and freshness. Impossible to spit. Delicious and complete with a long, sherbet finish. ****.5+


Meursault Comte Lafon 1999
Massively rich peanut brittle and hazelnut scents with vanilla and spice. Baked fruit.
Rich, clean fresh and mouthfilling with rounded fruit and deep, nutty, sweet spice finish. Excellent. ***.5+

Monthelie Côte de Beaune Coche-Dury 2006
Bright and fairly simple red fruit aromas, some game and earth. Fresh acidity, classy balanced fruit with no harsh edges or vegetal, and plenty of cherryish flavour. Mid length finish. Simple, but delicious. ***

Volnay 1er Cru Champans Marquis d'Angerville 2000
Mid colour. Have to say the wine looks a little cloudy, is that the Coravin side-effect?
Meaty, spicy, smoky scents with rich earthy fruit and plum jam. Coffee and a hint of toffee flavours. Delicious extract and depth. Hugely long rounded finish. Superb ****.5

Château Certan de May Pomerol 1995
Deep colour, again the gas-splash seems to create cloudiness. Cedary, slightly greenish scents, dry black fruit underneath. Hint of tapenade. Inviting, but less "Pomerolly" than I would have expected. Rounded in the mouth, with soft fruits, wood, earth, leaves and varnish. Very long finish. Delicious. ****.5

Not part of Coravin experiment, but with lunch:

Meursault Charmes 1er Comte Lafon 2002
Rich buttery and warm fruit aromas. Some cinnamon and apple, hazelnut, peanut brittle and honeycombe aromas. Massively inviting and complex. Packed baked fruit and rich spices, Simply wonderful expression of how good Chardonnay can be, perfectly balanced and fresh yet rich. ****

Hermitage La Chapelle 1997 (Magnum)
Surprisingly pale in colour, although still mid. Juicy black fruits and with really inviting sweet spices and leather hints. Still young and inviting aromas. Packed and juicy flavours with great spicy extract and depth of fruit. Classic, and full. Very long. ****

Cos d'Estournel St Estèphe 1988
Still deep in colour. Dry and fresh, earthy cedary aromas. Very Claret-y. Still retaining fruit and with stylish dry tannins and earthiness in the mouth. Some dried fruit, hawthorne and spice. Very long and rounded. Very good indeed. ****.5+

It will be worth buying another flight just to try such wines again, but I am genuinely intrigued to see how the experiment proceeds.



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