Here’s a brain-teaser: How can you have a glass of wine from a bottle, without pulling the cork?

Answer: The Corvin Wine Access System, recently launched in Ireland. Its USP is that it enables a bottle of wine to be enjoyed a sample or a glass at a time, over the course of weeks, months and even years, accessing the wine via a medical grade, ultra-fine needle. When the needle is withdrawn from the cork and a puff of inert (argon) gas blankets the remaining wine, the cork will naturally close back around the tiny puncture. The applications for this are manifold: from wine students who want and need to taste fine and rare wines to further their knowledge and experience; to wine collectors who wish to assess how their wines are evolving in bottle; to restaurants and wine bars like ourselves who are excited by the prospect of offering their customers a chance to taste fine and rare wines by the glass without having to worry that only one glass will be sold and the rest will spoil. Pretty revolutionary we think!

Coravin

The first wine broached (accessed and tasted 7th July 2015) was:

Massolino Barolo DOCG ‘Parafada’ 2007

€69.99

14.5% abv

Massolino Barolo Parafada

Pale garnet with a broad, pale, almost watery looking orange rim.

The nose is sumptuous: velvety, complex and evolving with each swirl of the glass. There is at first a sweet, rose-like floral note, which changes to warm gravel, then black cherries and raspberry ruffles, then through warm spice and fruit to gravel again.

On the palate, it is medium-bodied with liqueur-like cherry fruit and gravel. Everything is in almost perfect harmony and drinking beautifully at the moment. The mouthfeel is very silky, with balanced acidity, but with a firmly tannic edge just, to remind you that this is Nebbiolo. The alcohol is high, but in perfect tune with the other elements of the palate and there is no sense of clumsiness or hotness that can come fro Medium plus length on the finish. A real pleasure to taste now, it should hold for another 7-10 years.

Parafada is a ‘cru’, a specific vineyard site that has its own unique attributes in the way that a Burgundy lieu-dit, or premier cru or grand cru would have, although in Barolo, there is no distinction between great vineyards and merely delimited ones. Antonio Galloni (www.vinousmedia.com) has done tremendous research on ranking the crus of Barolo and Barbaresco and ranks Parafada as an outstanding site. Parafada produces wines that are relatively forward, especially for Serralunga d’Alba which is more generally known for producing wines of richness and power. Massolino is one of the reference producers of the cru and farms 1.13 hectares on marly lime soils in this part of the Serralunga d’Alba subzone.

The 2007 vintage in Barolo was a unique one, in that it was a warm to hot growing season and also a long one with cool nights towards harvest time, which probably explains the rare combination of ripeness and texture, along with gorgeous aromatics evidenced in this wine.