Access to Accessibility

Access to Accessibility

Aylin Öney Tan -
Access to Accessibility

Reuters Photo

“Life is too short to drink bad wine.” That is the motto of serious wine collectors. A good wine is what we deserve for that special moment. But when is the right time? Which bottle is the right choice for that particular time? We often have that special bottle we reserve for a memorable occasion. That special occasion sometimes never seems to be the right one and the opening of the prized bottle is often postponed to another occasion in the future. When the real special moment comes, unfortunately the celebration bottle is way past its prime and the moment fails to be memorable. Sometimes it is on the contrary; we are too anxious to taste our elusive hidden treasure in the bottle without having the patience to wait for its peak moment. Sometimes it is more tragic than that. I still remember that special bottle presented to my aunt labeled with her family name when she was treated for cancer in Lubbock, Texas; the lonely bottle remained on the shelf forever when she passed away. 

Struggling over when to open a bottle is a dilemma that concerns even serious wine collectors. It is a burden also on budget strained self-trained wine enthusiasts that would like to do a vertical tasting of a single vineyard or a horizontal tasting of a single grape variety from different wineries. Sometimes it is more simple then that. We just want to enjoy a white first with our entrée, followed by more complex reds with our meat and then continue with a demi-sec with our cheese or dessert. Who is to splash four or five fine bottles for two, for a nice weekend dinner at home without thinking not only of its cost, but also its waste? 

Now all of this hesitation to open up a bottle is a thing the past, only if you have that geeky gadget called Coravin. This geeky gadget enables you to taste your wine over and over again, sip by sip, or glass by glass, over the years, without uncorking and spoiling it. Actually, the wine left in the bottle not only remains unspoiled, but can even continue to age or develop. 

The story starts with a keen wine enthusiast from outside the wine world. The idea came upon Greg Lambrecht, an American inventor, also a keen wine collector, when his wife was pregnant with their second child. He wanted to enjoy the wines of their home collection but often he could not bring himself to pull the cork off just to enjoy a glass or two, sacrificing the rest of the bottle. He tried several ways to keep the oxygen out of the opened bottle, but once the bottle was opened, even the pouring process made the oxygen come into contact with what was remaining in the bottle. Bothered by wasting several bottles he dreamt about extracting the wine with a needle out of the bottle without opening it. In that way the wine would never get in contact with the oxygen that eventually spoils any wine. Being an expert on medical needles with a background in physics, mechanical engineering, nuclear power and medical devices, it was not an impossible target for Lambrecht. After several years of trying he constructed the first prototype in 2003; a clumsy first model that worked just fine. The rest was adding details and final design touches to the gadget. The system accesses the wine through a Teflon-coated needle through the cork, sucks the desired amount of wine out, while pumping in the tasteless and odorless inert gas argon to replace the poured wine. In this way the wine never comes in contact with oxygen. When the needle is removed the cork reseals itself like skin after an injection of acupuncture therapy. 

The creator prefers to call it access to wine. I prefer to call it access to accessibility! In this way you’re not intimidated by the thought of opening a bottle, but have access to it, and then decide to enjoy the whole thing straight away, or have another moment of pleasure months after when you feel in the mood again. It makes even elusive wines more accessible to us mortals, at any time, and in any amount we wish to enjoy; breaking the boundaries with the bottle and wine lover. The system surely is game changing about your attitude to wine!

Note: Coravin is now available in Turkey at fine wine stores at the same price as in the rest of world. Watch this to learn more about the creation of the system:

Bite of the Week

Fork of the Week: When talking about grapes, one memorable grape of the week came in the form of a sorbet. The array of sweets ending the dinner at Nicole Restaurant are always amazing, but this time it was all the ices that made me shiver with thrill. The kefir sorbet went astonishingly well with the meaty red pepper sorbet, all brought together with a wonderful cheese-based cream with raspberries. But the pinnacle was the sorbet with Concord grapes, known as the strawberry-scented grape in Turkey. Not classified as a proper grape, or as Vitis vinifera, it is still the ultimate grape of late fall for me, alas not in the bottle but on my dessert plate. Apart from the desserts created by Aylin Yazıcıoğlu another thrill was the cucumber dish by Chef Kaan Sakarya. It was like a cool cucumber gazpacho but I’d rather liken it with a yogurt-less cacık. It was just the right break in between the courses to wet our appetite for more. Do not miss them, as they change the menu quite often.

Cork of the Week: Another memorable dinner was at Çırağan Palace Kempinski by Chef Sezai Erdoğan. The setting on the shore of the Bosphorus is always eternal, but this time it was the wines that made the day. Jean-Luc Thunevin, known also as the “Bad Boy of Bordeaux,” is now in Turkey and thanks to leading wine importer ADCO, we will have access to their wines created by his wife, Murielle Andraud, in Château Valandraud. Surely they will visit this column again and again when the moment comes!