The tool allows collectors to sneak a taste of their best stuff without overcommitting. (photos courtesy of the brand)

You’re likely holding on to some pretty special bottles of wine. And you likely have toyed with the idea of opening them, sooner than later, maybe this weekend, but then decided against it because, well, those are the special occasion bottles.

Screw that.

If there were ever a time to pop the cork on a special occasion bottle, that time is now. That said, maybe you just want a glass or two. Or you have a half-dozen, or even a cellar full, of these coveted bottles and want to see how they’re coming along. But opening the bottle means you have to drink the whole thing (and by have to, we mean, happily guzzle it down over the course of a night. Or two). Now you don’t.

Enter the Coravin.

This higher-end wine tool has been around for a few years and I’ve seen it used to pour some very elegant wines at Michelin-starred restaurants—without uncorking the bottle. Its beauty lies within the technology that spears through the cork, letting you pour off as much as you want before removing the stainless steel, non-stick needle that emits ultra-pure argon gas to preserve the wine, nary a hint of oxygen getting inside.

I recently received a new model six and, while giddy to try it out for a virtual tasting (more on that in a moment), I was admittedly a little nervous. I wasn’t sure how technical the tool was. Would I accidentally knock over and break the bottle? Would I bust the needle? I entered into the first use with a bit of trepidation, but as soon as I gingerly stuck in the needle, tilted the bottle, poured out some wine and sipped, I realized how silly my concerns had been.

These new Coravin models have what they call “SmartClamps,” which, well, smartly clamp to the side of the bottle so you don’t have to mess around with attaching the Coravin like you did with older models. Pulling it out was a breeze. To clean? You literally just run it under cold water and wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth.

During quarantine, I participated in my share of virtual gatherings. Perhaps the most elegant of them was for actual work—a virtual tasting with Joseph Wagner of Copper Cane Wines & Provisions, which produces a variety of wines including Elouan Oregon pinot noir, Boen chardonnay, and Napa Valley Quilt Fabric of the Land (a really special blend of petite sirah, zinfandel, merlot, and petite verdot). The Coravin made it super easy to taste through a variety of the wines without having to open all of them at once.

While Coravin, which comes in a variety of models starting at $199.95, is not an inexpensive investment, for wine aficionados, it can be an invaluable tool.

Now for that bottle of 2011 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino I’ve been coveting? Or the 2012 Peter Michael ‘Ma Danseuse’ pinot noir my sister in law gifted us a couple of years ago? The time has come for you to get in my glass. If even just a little bit. For now.