George W. Heath III
 
July 4, 2010 | George W. Heath III

WINE TIP OF THE WEEK - Opening Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Some customers seem to be intimidated opening Champagne or sparkling wine bottles but it's really quite easy. There should not be a loud "pop" when the cork is pulled along with a great stream of wine and bubbles exploding from the bottle, unless of course you're going for effect and you don't mind losing half your wine and cleaning the floor, ceiling and table after the explosion.

Place the bottle flat on a table, remove the foil which will expose the cage (the wire thingy that holds the cork from popping on its own).
Next (I'm right handed) place the left hand on the neck of the bottle with the thumb on top of the cork holding firmly. Unwrap the cage keeping the thumb on top, quickly remove the cage and replace your thumb back on the cork holding it firmly. Pick the bottle up (with the thumb still holding the cork) gasp the cork with the left hand holding firm and stationary. Grasp the bottom of the bottle with the right hand twist the bottle not the cork.

Once the cork has dislodge the pressure in the bottle will definitely want to expedite the uncorking but don't let it. Hold firm with the left hand and fight the bubbles easing the cork out slowly, there should be a very light hiss and no "Grand Pop". I also find it useful to let the bottle sit open for five minutes or so, so at the first pour you get less foam in the glass.

George W. Heath III
Bacchus Wine Consultant
Twitter: @BacchusWine 

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