It’s difficult to think of a drink that is more associated with celebrations than Champagne or sparkling wine. It’s helped us rejoice at weddings, parties and throughout our careers. Some people can feel a little nervous when opening a bottle of bubbly. So, I thought I would call on my skills from the past and offer a few quick tips on how to open a bottle of sparkling wine.
The most popular glass to serve sparkling wine is the champagne flute (pictured above). It is said that the long narrow shape of the flute helps keep the bubbles for a longer period of time, allowing you to savour the wine to it’s fullest. As a novelty, I’ve used vintage champagne saucers for my cocktail parties. I’ve sourced them from Op Shops for around 50 cents and so never felt the need to use plastic glasses.
Now, Champagne or sparkling wine should always be served chilled. Once you’ve got the bottle at the right temperature (around 7°C); remove the foil off the top of the bottle. Slowly begin to release the wire cage, ensuring that the cork is directed away from you. (Some bottles have enough pressure built up in them that they will pop as the cage is released).
Remove the cage from the bottle but keep your thumb on the top of the cork. A cloth over the top of the bottle might come in handy here, as it can help contain the cork if it decides to pop before you are ready.
Support the neck of the bottle, grip the cork with your palm and fingers and rest your thumb on the cork . With your other hand, hold the base of the bottle and angle it on a 45 degree angle. Turn the bottle (not the cork) gently and slowly until you hear a small “hiss” or “pop” sound.
(This small sound is so contrary to what we see in films; the big pop, flying cork and overflowing Champagne. However, by not allowing too much of the bubble to escape when opening, you’re ensuring that you’ve left enough in the bottle and that you don’t waste any of the wine (which, I have to say, is a sin 😉 ).
Slowly pour the wine into the glass.
When I am serving sparkling wine at parties or at home, I like to tilt the glass on an angle and slowly pour the wine. I think this helps reduce the amount of foaming that often comes with pouring sparkling wine directly into a standing glass. Try it and tell me what you think.
I love a good Champagne or sparkling wine. We’ve demonstrated with a beautiful sparkling wine from Tasmania, Kreglinger Vintage Brut. It’s a creamy, smooth wine, perfect as an aperitif or with your meal. You can buy from Dan Murphy’s or most good wine stores.
All Images: 2010 © Matt Good