I’ve found the Coravin a great for blind tasting practice. If you want to look at half a dozen different Cabernets you don’t have to open 6 bottles. You can just pour yourself a glass of each. And you can look at them again next week or next month or in 6 months. Or, compare them to some Syrahs or Merlots at different times. And, the best thing, you don’t waste anything.
It is an expensive unit. But, for those developing blind tasting skills for something like the MW, MS, or WSET diploma exam it’s worth it. I find I’m actually spending less on wine now than I did before I got the Coravin. There’s much less wastage. And there’s no pressure to drink all these open bottles of wine — I’m sure my liver is thanking me! You also get much more use out of a bottle. You can use it in several different tasting of the course of weeks or months.
Possible disadvantages/things to be aware of:
- Transfer of spoilage organisms (eg brettanomyces) from one bottle to another via the needle. I asked Coravin about this. They indicated the risk was very low if you follow recommend cleaning procedures. They also said some customers were using Vodka just to be sure. I asked about using 96% ethanol and if it would damage the Teflon coating — I’m waiting to here back from the engineers.
- Leaky corks. I haven’t had the system long but of the dozen or so bottles I’ve accessed I’ve already had one cork that leaked through the access hole. It was only a small leak and stopped after a few days. However, it did make me wonder. The cork was only 5 years old so should have been ok. But, there can be a bit of variability with cork. Coravin to offer finer needles for older corks. Obviously they’ll pour much slower.