Happy New Year, darlings! Ring in 2014 by showing that Champagne bottle who’s boss. By popular demand, here’s a post on how to uncork a sparkling wine bottle in five easy steps without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo. Cheers and may your glass be always full in the New Year!
Step 1: Remove the foil.
Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.
Step 2: Remove the cage.
That wire you see at the top of the bottle is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.
Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.
Condensation may cause the bottle to be slippery. You don’t want that. Take a dish cloth or towel and wipe off some of the moisture so that you can get a good grip.
Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.
Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it. You’re preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down firmly, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.
Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.
Twist the bottle, not the cork. Sí, you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you should hear a fiesta-inducing pop, not a heart-attack-inducing BANG.
Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve just won the Monaco Grand Prix.
What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Wasn’t that easy? Before your New Year’s bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini-Old Faithful.
¡Feliz año nuevo!
I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’