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Product Review – ArT18 Wine Preserving Argon System

img_0894If you like a glass of good wine, but are somewhat afraid to open a really nice bottle for fear the rest will spoil before you drink it, then a wine preservation system is a must.  They come in many different styles and use different approaches.  Some are more effective than others.  So which should you use?  It depends on how long you might leave that bottle sitting, as well as how deep your pockets go.  We have used the Vacuvin stoppers and pump for years, and they can help keep a bottle of good red drinkable for four to five days easily.  The wine will change during that time, frequently for the better initially, as it opens and reveals its subtleties, so clearly there is a level of oxidation taking place when using it.  It operates on the premise of pumping out the air in the bottle, leaving as close to a vaccum as is practical.  These types of preservers are very inexpensive.  Much more effective is the Coravin, which uses a very small tube that you put right through the cork, never opening the bottle at all.  This never introduces air into the vessel, and the wine is theoretically never going to spoil.  A cartridge of pressurized argon sends gas into the bottle to push out the wine, and leaves behind an inert gas which will not interact with the remaining wine in any way.  Your bottle should remain good indefinitely.  The drawback?  The Coravin will set you back several hundred dollars.  In my opinion it is also a bit clunky.  This review, however, is about another alternative, one which promises to preserve your wine for a long time and not set you back a fortune.

The ArT18 approach also uses argon gas, an inert gas which transfers no aromas or taste to the wine.  It is heavier than air, so when you img_0896spray a small amount into the bottle it settles onto the surface of the wine and prevents contact with the damaging oxygen in the air.  You put a cork into the bottle to keep things inside still and quiet, letting that blanket of Argon keep your wine safe and secure.  Essentially this works much the same as the Coravin except you do pull the cork, and some air does get to the wine while you are pouring your glass.  For a bottle you are actually going to drink all of in the near future this makes great sense, theoretically.  But does it actually work?

img_0897We received an evaluation sample from the people at ArT18, and decided to put it to the test.  It was time for a lab experiment, and we selected two bottles to use the system on.  One was a wine we use as a house wine and drink by the case, the 2013 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot.  We know it intimately, so any subtle changes over time would be easier to recognize.  This bottle we periodically opened, poured a small glass for tasting, and then re-applied the argon and waited some more.  The other bottle we drank about half of, then applied the product and planned to leave it alone until the very end of this experiment.  It is the 2014 Kanonkop Pinotage, a great South African wine with rich fruit flavors.   This would prove interesting.

Here is the timetable and results:

Dec 1, 2016 – we opened the 2013 Los Osos Merlot and poured a glass, then applied argon and the cork they supplied (which is really a decorative marketing piece, any cork would do).  The wine was as usual, with no defects.

Dec 2, 2016 – we opened the 2014 Kanonkop Pinotage, drank about half, and then applied argon and a cork.

Then we sampled the Los Osos several times over the ensuing 10 days.

Dec 5 – wine was as fresh as when opened.  Re-applied argon.

Dec 7 – still absolutely no discernable change in the juice.  We were impressed, but once again apply argon and re-cork the bottle.

Dec 11 – now it is eleven days past opening, and the Los Osos still tastes like we just opened it.  Enough was enough, and we opened the Pinotage as well (now ten days in bottle) to find it also seemed as good as the day we first poured it.  We were now very impressed.

Based on these results, we have no doubt we could have gone longer and still found the wine sound.  This system works.  It works exceedingly well.

How about price?  Here there is good news.  The suggested retail price is $9.99 per can, and they advertise you can get up to 130 squirtsimg_0898 per can.  That should easily handle preserving 30 to 40 bottles (assuming multiple applications), which would equate to 25 to 34 cents per bottle.  That’s not likely to break anyone’s bank who is opening up a wine worth preserving.

For full disclosure, if you do a search on wine preservation and inert gas, you’ll find other options.  Not all use argon.  Some are much more expensive.  The ArT18 product is at the low end of the price scale, and we can attest it works perfectly.  It’s easy to control and you can put only a small amount in at a time.  We don’t know if the 130 uses per can is accurate, as we haven’t made it through the entire can yet.  If it turns out to be way off we’ll report back.  Until then though, we give the ArT18 Argon system great marks, our strong recommendation, and plan to have some on hand at our house to keep the good bottles fresh.

You can see more at their website: www.ArT18Wine.com.

A votre santé!

 

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