Anyone who drinks wine has been faced with the dilemma of an empty bottle. The dinner party’s done, you’ve cleaned all the dishes and there’s the half-empty bottle—or maybe a few half-empty bottles—sitting on the table. Very good Pinot Noir from Sonoma. What will someone do with it? Drink it next week? Probably… but how long does a bottle of wine stay drinkable, after removing the cork? And is there some way to make it stay drinkable longer? Yes, you can do it with the help of Coravin.
Fortunately for humans, but sadly for wine, the atmosphere of the Planet is about 21 percent oxygen. When a bottle is opened, it starts to oxidize, the oxygen in the air reacting with the wine’s polyphenols (which give color and tannins) and other compounds (those supplying flavor, for instance) (those providing flavor, for instance).
For a fast-forwarded version of this scenario, cut into an apple. Its flesh turns brown rapidly: That’s oxidation.
As wines oxidize, they begin to lose their freshness, the “aliveness” of their aromas and tastes. White wines grow a kind of uniform, boring, apple cider-like character which will gradually darken and turn brown, much like an apple. And it will eventually darken and turn brown, just like an apple. Reds tend to taste flat and dried out, and sometimes turn bitter. A little air can potentially boost very young reds, which is one point of decanting; these wines are so tightly wound that an hour or two of exposure to oxygen makes them more flexible and fun to drink.
In the end, however, except for young wines, oxygen plus time equals good-bye.
Slowing Down Oxidation
So, to prolong the life of an open bottle of wine, you need to 1) expose it to less oxygen, 2) slow down the time, or 3) use the above 2 in combination. Strangely, slowing down the time is the easiest process. What you do is put the cork back in the bottle and put the bottle in the freezer. Chemical reactions happen more slowly at lower temperatures, and oxidation is no exception. This is true for reds as well as whites.
The Coravin is an entirely different story. If you want to drink half of a bottle of wine and leave the rest in almost perfect shape, the Coravin is about the only way I’ve ever come across to do it. The drawback is the price: $299. But the upside—assuming you’re a serious wine lover, or someone buying a present for a serious wine lover—is substantial.
If the Coravin Method along with a Screw Cap is used properly, wine can hold up to 3 months. You can ensure good handling of the wine by using Coravin Screw Caps.