Coravin Is Changing Wine Lists in Los Angeles

Greg Lambrecht demos Coravin by Caroline on Crack
Greg Lambrecht demos Coravin by Caroline on Crack

Coravin. It’s magic, I tell you!

When I first heard about wine accessing device Coravin, which first hit the wine world last year and already won an award, I thought my prayers were answered. A tool that allows you to access wine without removing the cork? Magic! As a newbie wino it was just the invention I needed to break me from the shackles of one-bottle nights. With this I could do my own flights and pairings! (To learn how to use it, check out my LA Mag post with a demo by Coravin founder Greg Lambrecht.)

Of course there’s the little matter of its $299 price tag. Wine-loving friends have said that it doesn’t make sense to get one for home use especially because those argon gas cartridges are a bit spendy. And “word has it that once you’re about halfway through the bottle the wine starts changing anyways because you’ve stabbed the cork so much that oxygen is getting in,” said Jen Len, sommelier at the Jonathan Club.

But for retail use, it’s a different matter. I’ve seen the device at tasting rooms in Santa Ynez and Napa wineries. And turns out a bunch of Los Angeles restaurants like Sotto, Cut, smoke.oil.salt and Angelini Osteria, have adopted the device. Drago Centro general manager Akili Steward has some hesitation about it, however. “A friend pointed out that because of the very thin, slow pour the wine is essentially being oxidized while you wait. Also, disturbing the wine even with an inert gas will also cause small changes to the molecular structure which will affect the taste over time,” he said. “I think it’s cool to use with an expensive by-the-glass program but definitely something to take into consideration.” Drago Centro plans to get one regardless.

On the other hand, Cliff’s Edge GM Ami Lourie, a big wine geek, brought in the Coravin and dedicated a section of the restaurant’s wine list to it. It allows diners to try pricey wines by the glass when they don’t want to spring for the whole bottle. “I brought the Coravin in because I have liked playing with toys since I first met ‘He-Man’. But in all seriousness, being able to open almost any bottle of wine allows us to share more of our vino-inspired sense of adventure with our guests. It’s a highly gratifying toy,” said Ami.

Here’s what’s on their current Coravin list:

CORAVIN WHITE
Chardonnay Dominique Lafon, Bourgogne, Fr, ’11 (Bio) $22
Chardonnay Heroine, Iconic Wine, Michael Mara Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Ca, ’12 (Sus) $27
Chardonnay Young Inglewood, Michael Mara Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Napa, Ca, ’11 $28

CORAVIN RED
Pinot Noir Mink Vineyard, Ancien Wines, Coombsville, Napa Valley, Ca, ’12 $27
Pinot Noir Les Chaliots, Domaine Michel Gros, Nuit-Saint-Georges, Bourgogne, Fr, ’09 $38
Barolo (Nebbiolo) Pio Cesare, Alba, Piemonte, It, ’09 $31
Petit Sirah Artisan Uprising, Silverlake, Paso Robles, Ca, ’12 $23

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