Deep down inside, we're all F1 drivers.
Sometimes, when you pick up a bottle of Champagne, you just can't help but get a little carried away, imagining that you're standing on a podium, wreath wrapped around your neck, trophy in hand, with that bottle of fizz just aching to be sprayed over an adoring crowd.
Or maybe that's just me.
Most of the time, however, we don't want to be covering anyone in fizz, preferring to aim the liquid towards our glass instead (crazy talk).
So how do you open a bottle of Champagne?
Ideally you want to open a bottle of bubbly the right way - i.e., with as little mess and sound as possible. Why the lack of noise? Well, classically when opening sparkling wine it was considered the pinnacle of service to open it without any pop at all. Just that refreshing gurgle as it pours into the glass.
The quest to achieve such noiseless perfection starts with how you hold it. Firstly, you need to grab the bottle by the scruff of the neck. Ahh, hold on, just grab the bottle. Then, the next thing is to place your hand over the top of the metal cage (aka the muselet) and aim the bottle away from your face/friend's face/anything breakable. This is a safety precaution as Champagne corks travel at up to 40km/h.
Next step is to remove the muselet. Intriguingly, the universal number of turns that the wire cage requires to undo is 3 turns (or 6 half turns). Always. Sounds odd, doesn't it? Some more info about exactly why it's 6 is here.
At this stage, it is important to keep the bottle pointed away, and one hand on the top (again, safety). One hand on the cork/muselet, one on the bottle. Next - and this is the clincher - you want to turn the bottle, not the cork. It sounds odd, but trust me, this allows for much better control. While turning, keep the cork pressed into the bottle as hard as possible - a move that also allows for more control.
Finally, as you feel the cork start naturally 'popping' out of the bottle, you want to slow it right down to get that all important non-sound. Press down, and slowly - as slow as possible - ease the cork out of the bottle. Then hey-presto! Out comes the cork without any sound and you look like a pro (and without anyone losing an eye/spilling any Champagne)!
Of course, if you'd like to know more about Champagne and sparkling wine, come along to one of our tastings today! All the details can be found right here.
P.S. There is another, much more dramatic way to open a bottle of Champagne that involves a sword. We'll get to that in a subsequent post.