Opening a great bottle of wine can be a commitment. And if you’re worried about wasting a good one before it’s reached its peak, or want a taste but aren’t prepared to drink the whole thing in one night, you may skip it in favor of something cheaper or more shelf stable. Or, you can use the Coravin Wine Access System, which punctures the cork with a needle and gives you wine without exposing the liquid to oxygen.
Think of the Coravin as a Mission: Impossible operation for your beverage needs: Once the needle goes through the cork, it replaces the emptied space in with argon, an inert, odorless gas, as it feeds wine into your glass. Once the needle is extracted, the cork expands back into place to fill the gap (cork is a resilient material), and it’s like nothing ever happened. Coravin has an internal gauge to keep you from adding too much pressure to make it explode (The company says the current system is not for Champagne use.) With proper use, a single capsule yields 15-20 glasses of wine, so it’s best not to waste your supply on Three Buck Chuck. That said, for the special bottle — or case — you bought on your honeymoon, this is a great way to see if it’s ready — or corked — before you make much ado about a less than perfect wine.
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It took a bit of getting used to, mostly because of the intimidating nature of the tool: a heavy object with a surgical-grade needle on one end and a high-pressure gas tank on the other. But after a few clumsy attempts to pour (the actual puncturing was easy), we got the hang of it — and found ourselves eyeing up that long-stored 2010 Pierre Gonon Saint-Joseph.