How to open Champagne
Author: Berry Bros. & Rudd
Standing on the Winner’s Podium, the triumphant athlete shakes the Champagne bottle and releases a fountain of fizz…
This image of celebration (or shocking waste, if you are a winemaker or Champagne lover) is nevertheless one worth keeping in mind when any bottle of sparkling wine needs opening: it demonstrates the power of the gas behind the cork.
This is one instance where the packaging has a point. The instantly-recognisable mushroom cork with its wire cage and the thick glass bottle are not there for effect. Be aware that a badly-handled bottle can send its cork flying for 50 metres – and at up to 30mph. Broken windows, shattered mirrors – worse, broken noses, can ensue…
So, when you pick up that bottle it will, ideally, have been resting gently in fridge or ice-bucket: take extra care if it has been at all shaken – and warmth, too, makes the gas dissolved in the wine more volatile and your fizz less pleasant to drink.
Then three more things are needed:
- your aim: point it away from your face, your friends and your furnishings
- a glass: to catch the first of it should it turn out to be a gassy bottle after all
- your thumb
Follow the steps below and, with care, the cork should release with a gentle pop and a wisp of gas: be ready to pour. And having undertaken such a dangerous operation, you now deserve to enjoy the results…
- Remove any foil covering to reveal the cork with its wire ‘cage’. Keeping your thumb over the top, untwist the wire loop.
- Point bottle away from you. Remove cage. Replace thumb.
- The trick is to twist the bottle – not the cork: more leverage, less chance of breaking the cork. Keep thumb there. Gently ease the cork from the neck: the gas will help.
Top tip: Hold the glass at an angle and gently slide the fizz in to avoid too much frothing.
Mix and match six bottles of fizz for £200 on bbr.com, just order by noon on 28th December for delivery in time for New Year’s Eve.