It seems like I have been selling Private Preserve for as long as I have been in the wine business...except that the product has only been around for twenty-five years. I'm getting old. Anyway, a couple weeks ago a customer was lamenting about the condition of the open bottles I was pouring here and he looked over at the Private Preserve and said, "Why don't you use that stuff?". In truth, I never thought of using the stuff. It's for sale, right? I can't dip into my own pocket (as cheap as I am) to save half a bottle of wine. I had been using the Vacuvin pumps. Religiously. Pump, pour, pump, pour, and pump and then refrigerate overnight. I thought it was a good system. And then I tried Private Preserve...and what a difference! The "psshht" works much better.
I have seen many a wine salesman gas his open bottles as he moved on to the next stop on his route so I knew the product was credible. That and those salesmen often sold the stuff, themselves, so it was a demonstration of the guy's own wares. I may be dumb but I'm not stupid. Actually, maybe I am stupid, waiting twenty-five years before trying it myself. It's also been a month since our first high-end California Cabernet tasting when Private Preserve could have saved me some embarrassment and made me some moolah when I offered those same great bottles a couple days later. Oh well, live and learn.
So what is the "stuff"? Private Preserve is a black and gold, one foot tall, two and a half inch diameter recyclable aluminum spray can of gas that weighs four ounces. I know that because I put it on the deli scale. The can feels empty because the ingredients: Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, and Argon weigh next to nothing. They are just inert gases from the earth's atmosphere afterall, minus the oxygen and any transient contaminants. It just takes one healthy one-second "psshht" into your open bottle to displace the air in the bottle with those heavier gases, thereby providing a layer of protection against oxidation. Voila! This is almost too easy.
Private Preserve is also "green" in that those parts of the atmosphere secured through fractional distillation (Nitrogen, etc.), return to the atmosphere after use. No greenhouse gases. No ozone hole causing chemicals. No cloroflorcarbons or whatever that stuff is. And because it is flavorless it can be used to protect any food and basically any beverage, alcoholic or not.
What Private Preserve does is to slow down the aging process in wine, the same thing the Vacuvin pump does...but better. The pump removes 75-85% of the air in an open bottle. At wineries the same gas is used in carboys, barrels, and tanks to displace all of the air in containers. Scott Farmer, a winery owner himself, is credited with being the inventor of Private Preserve and, with all due respect to the inventor, the idea seems like it was just waiting to be exploited. Kudos to Scott for bringing it to us though.
I wonder if cars could run on this stuff?
Join us this afternoon, Friday the 5th of July from 5 to 7pm, as we taste the wines of Aveleda of Portugal with Coleen Rotunno of Quality Wine & Spirits. A long time ago I learned that the best guests on the Johnny Carson Show were the less well known ones. That seems to be true with unknown wines at tastings too. I think it has to do with anticipating the "new" as opposed to expecting what we have already experienced. Attend this one and you will not be disappointed. Then next Friday, July 12th, attend again we continue with more exceptional Portuguese wines.