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Resolutions and Rewards: How to Preserve that Gorgeous Iberian Wine for Yet Another Evening?

January typically sees hordes of grown-ups and semi-grown-ups persuading themselves to ‘give something up’. Normally, in the case of grown-ups and wine lovers, this means going on the wagon for the month in a vain attempt to persuade themselves that they are not beholden to the bottle and that they are ‘being healthy’. Come February (in the Northern hemisphere), the winter has shown no sign of abating – despite the empty promise of longer days – and everyone is back off the wagon, on foot, drinking ‘winter warmers’ like a naughty Shiraz or a cockle-warming Côte-Rôtie. By March, we’re back into the swing of things and the rest of the year follows the year before that, like some endless Bacchanalian parade.

But the misery of the human condition can be altered, for the good, in more lasting ways than the fallacy of a month’s abstinence or a failed resolution. Its consequence: your damaged self-esteem. For wine drinkers and lovers, the important act is not withdraw from our pleasures for a finite period but to moderate them lastingly, and to our benefit. This might sound like a pretentious load of old dribble but my greatest discovery of last year was not a wine to recommend but a product.

I have to be very wary of my footsteps here because a writer or reviewer’s job is not to sell a product but to evaluate it. Nonetheless, a small aerosol can of Argon has made a massive difference to my wine consumption. My greatest danger – and I’m very sure I’m not alone in this – is finding it hard to leave a half-empty bottle. But if there is a way of preserving the wine in that half empty  bottle (you might say it’s half full), then I’m happy to leave the contents until tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that. So far, I’ve used two very good Argon preservers: Winesave and Longitude. But the brand doesn’t really make a difference. What is important is (a) that it works, (b) that it’s easy to find, and (c) that it’s not too expensive.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say that the wine preservers I used were cheap and widely available – and that will be an issue to a lot of people (me included). But there does seem to be a growing market for this kind of thing, and I can only hope that competition pushes prices down. Indeed, US wine magazine Wine Enthusiast apparently has its own-brand wine preserver for $11.95. If it works, that seems a fair price to pay (but you might want to paint over the garish label that tries to make it look like a bottle of wine but just makes it look like something you’d find on the shelf in an adult joke shop).

Being able to leave bottles of wine without feeling the need to finish them, and being able to enjoy the same bottle in the same condition on two or three different days afterwards (sometimes several days afterwards), is a revelation. This isn’t just in the sense of diminished consumption: no longer is there a compelling reason not to open a bottle of wine if you’re on your own and it’s a Monday evening. As long as you can trust yourself to stop after one or two glasses (perhaps this should be the object of your resolution).

As I’ve said: the brand or the product doesn’t matter as long as it works (and using an inert gas – as any winemaker will tell you – is probably the best way to protect wine from oxidation). And feel free to use the comments section on this page to share your finds – I’m currently hunting for a good, cheap Argon wine preserver in Europe (with little success) and would love to hear from anyone who has any leads (business offers included ;-) ).

Cheers,

Oliver Styles

  • Wink Lorch

    Well done Oliver for writing about this – fits in well with my attitude to regular wine drinking (avoid abstinence except odd days, and definitely avoid binges)!

    I’ve been using these inert gas sprays for several years now, started when I was doing lots of Savoie and Jura tastings at home in France and wanted to keep the wines to drink or give away later (not being a wine writer that receives loads of samples). I’ve continued to use them for whatever wine I’m drinking at the time and confirm that they are much better than vacuum systems for preserving wine quality.

    Availability is difficult (even considered importing them) and in France only seen them at very smart Paris wine shops. In the UK, Private Preserve (which I’ve used and can recommend) is available wholesale at http://www.winebox.co.uk/Private-Preserve-Wine-Saver-Preserver and a couple of versions are available retail from http://www.aroundwine.co.uk but expensive. Good thing is that each canister lasts for ages (and ignore the elaborate instructions on some to do several squirts – one is enough).

  • http://www.aroundwine.co.uk Winerackd

    The excellent WineSave is available to UK customers from Around Wine.
    http://www.aroundwine.co.uk/winesave-argon-gas-preserver.html

  • http://www.wineandsommelier.com Guglielmo Rocchiccioli

    I would like to share the tasting notes of another Cava wine:

    BRUT NATURE GRAN RESERVA – JUVÉ Y CAMPS – RESERVA DE LA FAMILIA – BOTELLA N° 86817 – ELABORADOR JUVÉ I CAMPS – PROPIETAT D’ESPIELLS – SANT SADURNI D’ANOIA – ESPAÑA – R.S. 30-879/B – PARTIDA J 2006 12%

    ANÁLISIS VISUAL: de color amarillo pajizo intenso; burbujas finas, persistentes y numerosas.

    ANÁLISIS OLFATIVO: fruta tropical, levadura, yerba, crema pastelera, glicinia y jazmín.

    ANÁLISIS GUSTATIVO: justamente suave y sedoso, con un buen nivel de salivación y un cierre con sabor a cítricos; el toque amarguillo al final y el excelente porcentaje de acidez lo hacen ideal para un maridaje con el jamón serrano. La persistencia aromática intensa oscila entre 2 y 3 segundos.

    MARIDAJE COMIDA-VINO: jamón serrano

    * La salivación del vino contrabalancea la crasitud del embutido
    * La tendencia amarguilla del vino se contrapone a la tendencia dulce del jamón

    OPINIÓN PERSONAL: un cava que nace para los embutidos españoles y se exalta con este simple maridaje.