If corks aged as well as the wine they protect, Mark Taylor never would have invented the Durand corkscrew (thedurand.com, $125). The Atlanta wine collector and retired real-estate developer ingeniously combined the traditional wormed corkscrew and the pronged Ah-So design to create a hybrid that cleanly extracts fragile corks from old bottles. Though Taylor calls the idea “pretty obvious,” it actually took several years to develop and patent. He made the worm a little thinner, and the diameter of the screw a little larger, to better stabilize the cork. The pulling action comes from the prongs, which are slightly longer than the standard.
Named after Yves Durand, a retired Atlanta restaurateur and “wine guru” to Taylor and several master sommeliers, Taylor’s gizmo has become a standard tool in the somm’s bag of tricks. It is easy to see why: Just slip it into place, gently wiggle out the cork, and prepare for unsullied greatness.