argon/coravin issues

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Joseph Grassa
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argon/coravin issues

#1 Post by Joseph Grassa »

I recall reading somewhere (perhaps here but I couldnt find it) that argon mutes the wine a bit. Has anyone had this experience? Any side by side comparisons with a wine that was coravined next to one that was not? And if it is an issue does anyone have any strategy or methods to minimize the effects while using a coravin?

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Re: argon/coravin issues

#2 Post by Chris Crutchfield »

Argon is a noble gas, meaning it has very low chemical reactivity. I've never heard of issues with argon specifically muting the flavors or aromas of wine.

Sometimes people use the coravin incorrectly, for instance by not purging the needle of oxygen before they puncture the cork. If you do it that way, it will certainly affect the wine and you might conclude that the argon is at fault.

That being said, coravin is not a perfect wine preservation system and you should expect that oxygen will leak in slowly through the puncture in the cork over time.

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Re: argon/coravin issues

#3 Post by HoosJustinG »

Chris Crutchfield wrote: January 13th, 2021, 11:54 am Argon is a noble gas, meaning it has very low chemical reactivity. I've never heard of issues with argon specifically muting the flavors or aromas of wine.

Sometimes people use the coravin incorrectly, for instance by not purging the needle of oxygen before they puncture the cork. If you do it that way, it will certainly affect the wine and you might conclude that the argon is at fault.

That being said, coravin is not a perfect wine preservation system and you should expect that oxygen will leak in slowly through the puncture in the cork over time.
Oxygen already leaks in/out through the cork by design. The fresher/better humidified a cork is, one would imagine the better it will re-seal the hole made by the Coravin. I’ve gone to exclusively using the gold color needle (supposedly the diameter of the vintage needle with the pour speed of the original) - and I don’t Coravin any wine older than 25-30 years*, and I’ve never had a wine oxidize on me.

*I will do it if I know the whole bottle will be consumed over the next few weeks (I.e. sending tastes to friends in tasting bottles) ... in this case, I’ve also not noticed the wine oxidizing on me. It’s likely IMO that older wines would be fine longer than a few weeks with a hole that seals up enough to be “wine-tight,” but I’d rather not risk it. If I’m opening up older wine, there’s almost always an occasion ... and that occasion calls for pulling the cork.
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Re: argon/coravin issues

#4 Post by Andrew K. »

I have had mixed results on whites, especially more delicate older bottles, but those are the kinds of whites that you hold your breath with every time you pop the cork. Very good results on reds even high end ones and keeping the bottle for many months after Coravining.
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Re: argon/coravin issues

#5 Post by john stimson »

My experience has been that the wine from coravained bottles ends up being a little flat, even after a day or two, at least in my hands. The wines do not show any oxidation. It could be that I'm just sloppy. I don't think it has anything to do with Argon itself, but I wonder if just creating a space above the wine allows it to "spread" into that gas filled space, or evaporate some, and in that way changes the underlying wine. Not an oxidation issue, but a physical issue.

Because of that, I only coravain bottles that aren't really that important to me.

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Re: argon/coravin issues

#6 Post by Chris Crutchfield »

john stimson wrote: January 13th, 2021, 1:12 pm My experience has been that the wine from coravained bottles ends up being a little flat, even after a day or two, at least in my hands. The wines do not show any oxidation. It could be that I'm just sloppy. I don't think it has anything to do with Argon itself, but I wonder if just creating a space above the wine allows it to "spread" into that gas filled space, or evaporate some, and in that way changes the underlying wine. Not an oxidation issue, but a physical issue.

Because of that, I only coravain bottles that aren't really that important to me.
Yes, you will lose a lot of the volatile aromatics into the head space. There's nothing you can really do about that, unless you decant into smaller containers like half bottles.

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Re: argon/coravin issues

#7 Post by Richard Jen »

My limited experience is the last 1/3 bottle tastes best after pulling the cork. Next time I might Coravin a glass right before pulling the cork to compare. But I am not sure that actually makes sense as argon is injected into the wine?
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Re: argon/coravin issues

#8 Post by Andrew Dodd »

I've really only had mild issues with some Grenache/Rhone blends. I do feel like sometimes they'll fall a little flat when the bottle is opened down the road.

I also try to puncture the cork only once, and pour quickly. Usually what I'll do is decant a glass or two out of the top space, then open the rest of the bottle next time I have the occasion to do so.

All in all, amazed it works as well as it does, but I tend not to push my luck with multiple accesses or keeping bottles forever if I can help it. That being said, have had a few bottles I took a lot out of the top, then I opened several years down the road and they were still fantastic.

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