If you drink much old wine like we do, you have undoubtedly fantasized about having a corkscrew you can count on to remove an old cork in its entirety. The enjoyment of a valuable—and possibly irreplaceable—bottle of old wine can be seriously compromised simply because you can’t get the cork out cleanly.
In 2012, we discovered that an Atlanta collector, Mark Taylor, had invented—and was producing to exacting standards—a corkscrew designed to accomplish just this. We tried it out that Spring and quickly fell in love with it. And over the Summer, we used it to open more than 100 bottles of 30 to 70-year-old red wines, mostly old Riojas and Barolos. Increasingly, we believe that, for old wine lovers, this is the greatest discovery since the cork itself. The corkscrew is called The Durand.
Corks that are more than 30 years old often have begun to disintegrate, and usually it’s the bottom of the cork (the part in contact with the wine) that goes first. Using any conventional corkscrew (waiter’s friend, Screwpull, Ah-So, etc.) on a disintegrated cork will, 9 times out of 10, not get that bottom part, which will crumble into the wine.
The other problematic old cork is the one whose surface has adhered to the glass, while the center of cork has dried out. A conventional corkscrew tends to ream out the center of the cork, leaving the outside clinging to the neck of the bottle. This is even worse than a disintegrated cork, since fine, powdery dried cork falls into the wine and is impossible to get out.
When confronted with a cork like one of these, you can try to get all the pieces out with conventional tools, but that can take an eternity (while your guests are waiting), and you may still need to fish out the pieces or use a filter.
Or you can surrender to the cork—and let much of it fall into the wine. If you have a sieve, some cheesecloth, a coffee filter or a paper towel (as we once observed to our horror), you can filter out the detritus. But everything you’ve just inflicted on the wine is sure to diminish it.
The Durand consists of two parts which, when used correctly and in tandem, will get out even the most uncooperative old cork.
The first part of The Durand—an old-fashioned screw—is inserted all the way through the cork. The second part is a set of two blades that resembles an Ah-So. It is inserted perpendicular to the screw, with the blades going down the sides of the cork (between the cork and glass). Its purpose is to separate the cork from the glass, while the screw holds the cork together.
Extraction is simple. The screw is inserted. And then the blades go in. Once in, they form a cross and lock themselves together. You then gently and carefully pull while turning the entire device counterclockwise until the cork comes out in one piece.
To get the most from old wines, they must be treated with care, and The Durand is the care they demand.
An old wine has spent decades quietly evolving in its bottle, waiting for its moment on stage. To not give it the opportunity to fully express itself is a disservice not only to the wine, but to you and your guests.
The cost of The Durand is $125, which makes it among the most expensive cork-pulling devices in the market. But it’s worth that price and more. It will pay for itself the first time you open an expensive old bottle.
Furthermore, the construction of The Durand is impressive, made of very high-quality steel. We’ve seen nothing quite like it.
The Rare Wine Co. is thrilled to be one of the few national retailers to be chosen by Mark Taylor to market The Durand. And we have them in stock for immediate shipment via USPS Priority Mail. If you love old red wines, Madeiras, Ports, and any other old wine with a cork, you will want to order at least one—and always keep it within arm’s reach.
$125 (+ shipping)
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