How to Open a Bottle of Champagne

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and I daresay that at least some of you will be celebrating with a bottle of bubbles. Remember – it’s only Champagne if it’s been made in the Champagne region of France (and a whole pile of other rules on top of that!) – otherwise it’s “sparkling wine”.

A couple of years ago I made this short video showing the right way to open that special bottle – so you don’t spray yourself or your beloved with the wine, and don’t break anything with a rogue cork. It’s all just as true now as it was then!

If you’re looking for drinking inspiration a couple of my faves that won’t break the bank are the Midnight Cuvée from Blue Pyrenees (retails around $25), Stefano Lubiana’s NV sparkling from Tasmania (retails around $40). If you are looking to buy Champagne, think outside the box and seek out a grower Champagne. These are Champagnes made by the same estate that grows the wines so by extension they tend to be smaller, less well known names. One which is reasonably widely available is Larmandier-Bernier – the wines retail around the $80-90 mark.

Enjoy the video!

How to open Champagne

This is a bit of a cheat’s post, as the video below I made a year ago and first posted on my old site, Eating Leeds.  However, I think it’s appropriate that, as we head in to Christmas and New Year, we have a bit of a reminder about how to open the bubbles on Christmas morning or New Year’s Eve!

If you can’t see yourself parting with the money to buy the real deal there are plenty of good home grown alternatives that cost a lot less.  My personal favourite at the moment is Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee.  This retails for around the $25-30 mark and I’m sure there’ll be more than one bottle opened at Eating Adelaide HQ during the festive season.

A summary of the key points is below the video, in case you don’t have sound!

The key points are:

  • have the wine well chilled, as this reduces the pressure and the likelihood you’ll shower yourself or your guests in bubbly!
  • once you’ve removed the wire cage keep your hand over the cork at all times … there’s no guarantee it won’t fly off by itself
  • open the wine by holding the bottle at the base and keeping a firm grip on the cork.  Turn the bottle NOT the cork.
  • just in case, ensure you are not pointing the bottle at anyone or anything breakable – accidents happen and you don’t want to take out someone’s eye
  • when the cork does come out you want a gentle ‘phut’ sound not an explosion.  The best analogy I’ve heard is that it should sound like the sigh of a contented woman …
  • finally, pour your fizz into a flute (tall and thin glass) rather than a saucer (your bubbles will last longer) and keep the glass upright – you are NOT pouring a beer!  You’ll need to pour slowly (and maybe return to top up glasses) but it will keep with the sense of occasion.