The Wine Mosquito

POSTED ON 22/08/2015

Greg LambrechtGreg Lambrecht

Drink less but better is a laudable enough aim but hard to achieve once the genie is out of the bottle. How different if you could have just one glass, two perhaps, half a bottle even, of a fine wine without having to open the bottle. A fanciful idea? It was until an American medical inventor called Greg Lambrecht decided when his wife was pregnant that he was going to find a way of drinking a glass without actually opening the bottle.

Setting UpSetting Up

After 10 years and 4000 bottle tests, Lambrecht launched Coravin, a device whose mosquito-like needle penetrates the cork and capsule, sucks out the wine, and propels it into your glass. The cork automatically re-seals itself and the remaining wine in the bottle is perfectly preserved by the inert gas squirted into it by the Coravin. The wine left in the bottle then stays fresh for as long as you want, allowing you to draw the wine, a glass at a time.


I thought it was too good to be true when I first heard of Coravin’s prowess. The opportunity to road test the device arose when Lambrecht invited14 Masters of Wine and me to London’s Avenue Restaurant. We were given two wines to taste, a red, 1995 Certan de May, Pomerol, and a white, 2011 Sancerre Caillottes. Five glasses of each wine were put in front of each of us. Some of the five contained wine from a freshly opened bottle, others wine extracted by Coravin a year earlier. We had no idea which.

The PomerolThe Pomerol
The SancerreThe Sancerre

I noticed, sitting next to Gérard Basset MW, a winner of the best sommelier in the world award, that he looked as baffled as I was trying to guess which was which. When the tasting was done and the results collated, three of the 15 professionals had correctly guessed which was which in their five glasses of red. None of the 15 had guessed the white correctly. Lambrecht said this reflected the results of 25 earlier tests conducted in other cities.

To me, it was a vindication of Coravin. It doesn’t work on wines with screwcaps nor yet on sparkling wines and I suspect it’s not ideal on older wines with a deposit. There’s also not much point is using it on everyday wines. But for fine wines that you want, or need, to savour over a period of time, it’s a godsend for me and wine geeks everywhere, not to mention for wines by the glass in wine bars and restaurants that don’t want to invest in the much pricier Enomatic machine. What about the ceremony of uncorking the bottle? You simply do it for the last glass and not the first. Coravin is around £269 and stockists can be found on

Something for the WeekendSomething for the Weekend

Night In

2014 The Wine Atlas Tokaji

It’s adventurous of Asda to list a Hungarian wine from the Tokaj region and it pays off in a dry white with classic ginger spice aromatic notes and a tongue-tingling bone dry appley character with chablis-like crispness and zing. £6.67, Asda.

Dinner Party

2012 Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Casablanca, Chile

Barrel-fermented in white burgundy style by Errazuriz’s brilliant winemaker Francisco Baettig, there’s a subtle touch of toasty oak in the aromas of this flavoursome coastal chardonnay whose creamy textured richness is refreshed by trenchant appley bite. £12.99, Morrisons.

Splash Out

2010 Morambro Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Padthaway, South Australia

A hauntingly fragrant note of mint and herb leads you into a classic Coonawarra-like terra rossa-derived cabernet sauvignon whose spice-tinged cassis flavours are satisfyingly concentrated and beautifully focused by an elegant dimension of savoury richness. £15.99, Waitrose.

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