Bitten By the Bug: When The Wine Director Met The Wine Mosquito

The wine at The Cypress Room is corked, and it is cause for celebration, not a heart attack.   To understand why we haven’t completely lost our marbles, The Genuine Hospitality Group’s Wine Director Eric Larkee explains how the Coravin, his fun new toy at The Cypress Room, is improving our wine service like never before leaving the cork in the bottle and the oxygen out.  We are so happy that Michael encouraged him to scratch the itch.

TGK: Where did you first hear about Coravin?
EL: I read about it on a blog back in 2011 (don’t remember which one) back when it was called “The Wine Mosquito”. The device resurfaced this spring on ny.eater.com as the Coravin in a post about its use at Del Posto.

TGK: Who invented it?
EL: Greg Lambrecht, a Boston biomedical engineer

TGK: How does it work?
EL: The Coravin pierces the natural cork with a medical grape needle and extracts the wine, replacing it with argon, an inert gas which is heavier than air. The wine bottle is never actually opened. The fatal flaw with preservation systems is that the wine is exposed to oxygen at some point, even if CO2 or argon is applied at some point the wine will react with the available oxygen.

TGK:  How long will the bottle last for opened via Coravin?
EL: When used properly the Coravin would have no ill affect on the wine, and while the manufacture won’t make this claim for obvious liable reasons, logically using the Coravin once could actually help a wine to last longer because the argon would create a protective barrier.

TGK: Why do we have one at The Cypress Room?
EL: The original thought was so we didn’t have to worry about waste with the Tasting Menu, we could make the best pairing possible and not feel like we might waste the wine if we needed to open a new bottle for the last table of the night. We’ll also use it to pour (its kind of funny how the Coravin changes my language usage, I can’t say “pop open” or anything like that) older Bordeaux, Barolo and high-end whites by-the-glass.

TGK: Describe three special wines we can now pour by the glass and any plans you have for bringing in new wines for this reason that you may not have been able to pre-Coravin.
EL:  All three of the following wines will be available by-the-glass starting on Saturday. We’ve poured high-end wines at Michael’s Genuine before with some good results but what my biggest fear is a guest going from glass 4 of a bottle to glass 1 of a fresh bottle. Odds are the experience will not be the same, the Coravin creates consistency.
Domaine Christian Moreau, VaudÉsir grand cru, Chablis 2009
Château d’Armailhac, Pauillac, Bordeaux 2004
Oddero, Rocche di Castiglione, Barolo, Piedmont 2008

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