Can a sparkling wine be kept in top condition once open?
Many kitchens will have a traditional winged Champagne stopper tucked away for emergencies, but the list of premium stoppers offering promises of perfect glasses for days (if not weeks) is ever-expanding. Are there real differences in performance, though?
What happens to the bubbles?
As soon as the cork is popped on a sparkling wine, the clock starts ticking. Dissolved carbon dioxide makes its way out of the bottle into the atmosphere, and oxygen begins to enter, kicking off a process that will eventually make the wine taste tired and dull.
Bars and restaurants have long used systems designed to re-pressurise and seal sparkling wine bottles, but these have never been realistically available for consumers at home. With the aim of catering for both, wine preservation specialists Coravin introduced Coravin Sparkling in 2021. ‘The last glass should be as good as the first – that’s our brand,’ says founder Greg Lambrecht. This turned out to be a considerable challenge for sparkling wine, however. ‘You’d think it would be easy to just open a bottle, pour it, stopper it and recharge it [with CO2]…not so much,’ he says.
Unlike the Coravin for still wine, the sparkling edition does not go through the cork but rather seals, and repressurises the bottle, promising to preserve it for up to four weeks. As well as keeping the bottle bubbly, though, it is oxidation that Lambrecht also wanted to avoid: ‘I am an oxygen hater – I became extremely sensitive to it having blind tasted 10,000 bottles over time.’
Coravin’s work with still wine closures taught them to avoid silicone rubber, used widely in other stoppers. ‘It’s a very convenient material, and it stops CO2 escaping – but oxygen goes straight through.’
We put it to the test against a selection of manual stoppers.
The stoppers tested
Control – bottle left unsealed
1. Traditional winged Champagne stopper £2.50
2. Kloveo Champagne Stopper £18.99
3. The Finest Bubble stopper (Kiboni 157 design) £4.50
4. Avina premium locking Champagne stopper £12.99
5. Coravin Sparkling £399
The one-week test
This test involved pouring two glasses (250ml) of an English sparkling wine on day one, followed by one glass (125ml) on day three and a further two glasses (250ml) on day five. This left one glass remaining on day seven.
Day three (500ml remaining in bottle)
The bottle left unsealed was remarkably acceptable in pressure, although the flavours were muted. It was hard to tell the difference between this and the cheapest traditional stopper, which had not sealed very tightly. There was little to choose from between the other stoppers at this stage.
Day five (375ml remaining in bottle)
The control bottle and the winged stopper were showing signs of light oxidation, with the unsealed bottle now unacceptably flat. The Kloveo offered a notable improvement, although the Finest Bubble and Avina stoppers both showed better retention of pressure. The Coravin Sparkling bottle was starting to show a little more floral and citrus freshness than both, but not necessarily a better mousse.
Day Seven (175ml remaining in bottle)
The pouring of 250ml on day five did appear to drastically induce deterioration, with the wine under the winged stopper now barely acceptable. The Avina, Finest Bubble and Coravin bottles were undoubtedly best at this stage, with the Coravin showing a much more lively mousse and a subtle – but notable – brightness of flavour that indicated a slower rate of oxidation.
The four-week test
This test saw half a bottle (375ml) poured in one go on the first day, and the remainder tasted four weeks later. The Avina stopper was chosen to compare with the Coravin. Both were laid on their sides.
The wine under the Avina stopper had certainly lost some pressure, although the mousse was more than…
Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine-reviews-tastings/sparkling-wine/how-to-keep-sparkling-wine-fresh-after-opening-522684/