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Tim York

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Dissatifaction with Argon gas wine preservers

by Tim York » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:52 am

A few weeks ago, I posted asking for advice about preserving wine in opened bottles. The need arises because of our desire to reduce wine consumption (medical advice in Germaine’s case and my own for me). I got a lot of good advice for keeping young wines fresh and, for the more mature wines which make up the majority of my cellar, Argon gas sounded promising.

I reported some first impressions which were not good. I increased the dose from a squirt of about one second as recommended to closer to two, which affects the economics of the operation. The straws which broke the camel’s back are two bottles about which I wrote TNs this week (a Petite-Église 2001 and Rioja GR 1998 from Peciña). They were both roughly one-third full when the Argon was applied and the bottles reclosed.

After only 2 days the Petite-Église had acquired that sweet cabbage edge which is a symptom of bottles too long open, had lost freshness and was blander. The Rioja, after 8 days, was much the same with the added inconvenience, for me, of its vanilla notes having become more prominent.

It is interesting that the difference between two days and eight was not very marked. This leads me to think that the air ingested continues to react unfavourably in the wine for a few hours after the bottle is treated with the Argon following its having been open during up to an hour’s initial consumption. Although I haven’t examined them closely, some of the professional appliances used in wine bars may address this problem by injecting the gas after each glass is drawn off.

Meanwhile I’m stuck with a dilemma with my more mature bottles. Go back to emptying them at a sitting :D ? Or wasting about a third of the wine :( ?
Tim York
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Dissatifaction with Argon gas wine preservers

by David M. Bueker » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:59 am

Tim,

I have geenrally found the gas to be of limited usefulness. More useful has been to cork up the bottle and put it in the fridge. the next day I let it warm up to temp before pouring (or pour into glasses and let warm which tends to be faster).

Even better is to immediately upon first opening, decant half of the bottle into a half bottle, cork up and put in the fridge. Very limited air exposure that way. This method also forces limited consumption!
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Paul Winalski

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Re: Dissatifaction with Argon gas wine preservers

by Paul Winalski » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:06 pm

I use a nitrogen dispenser. After removing the cork, I insert the dispenser but don't seal it. I then run the nitrogen gas for about 10 seconds to purge the ullage of all oxygen. Then I disconnect the gas supply and seal in the dispenser. An open wine bottle stays fresh for weeks this way.

I would imagine that nitrogen is less expensive than argon for this purpose, and it probably does a better job. Argon is less dense than air (atomic weight ~20 daltons vs. 28 daltons for N2 and 32 daltons for O2).

-Paul W.

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