Ajay Gothwal who is a wine connoisseur and a manager at an a major Indian wine producer sent us this interesting note on Punting Champagne.
” In my years of travel across the globe I have seen 90 percent of waiters in the world pour Champagne by holding the bottles with thumbs inserted in the punts, or the small indentations in the bottom of the bottles. I don’t know how, when and where it started.”
Even the most sophisticated hotels seem to follow this religiously and I am sure they might have made it as their standard operating procedure. It might look very stylish to the waiter or as a matter of fact to the guest also. But I dread to imagine if he spills that precious bubbly as the bubbly itself weighs 750 ml plus the weight of the bottle. Can you imagine someone serving you like that from a magnum bottle? The punt was never intended for such a purpose. Originally, punts were a way of preventing the jagged pontil mark – the point left over after a glass bottle was blown and shaped – from scratching the surface of a table as technology was not that advanced those days when it all started.
By pushing the pontil up into the interior of a bottle, a punt was formed and the table was saved. When mold made wine bottles were introduced, the punt stayed, since it adds stability to the bottle when upright. With Champagne bottles, however, the punt has entirely a different purpose. During the second fermentation, which gives Champagne its bubbles, a lot of pressure is built up inside the glass wall of the bottle. The amount of pressure a Champagne bottle has is similar to that of truck tyre so that’s a considerable amount of pressure. The Champagne bottle’s prominent punt helps in the even distribution of the pressure inside the bottle, preventing the dangerous explosion, which were very common in the early stages of Champagne making.
So I am sure next time you order a bubbly you might tell your waiter to take it easy and say cheers for the wonderful creation called Champagne.