Until recently, the storage and service of liquor was my husband’s domain, at least until we moved from spirits to wine when I took over. However, I have to admit, I still prefer that my husband open our bottles of Champagne and sparkling wine, which he does with great aplomb, says Reva K. Singh. Doubts and hesitation about opening a bottle of sparkling wine exist in many quarters.
Should the cork pop with a loud sound followed by a spray? No, as any trained sommelier will tell you, the cork should be released with a gentle hiss. To open the bottle, professionals generally turn the bottle rather than the cork, but the rest of us will probably do both, twisting the bottle and cork in opposite directions.
Writing in “The World Encyclopedia of Wine”, Stuart Walton says, “Once the foil has been removed and the wire cage untwisted and taken off too, grasp the cork firmly and take hold of the lower half of the bottle.”
“Work very gently,” Walton advises, “and when you feel or see the cork beginning to rise, control it every millimetre of the way with your thumb over the top.”
This way you’ll be able to ease the cork out without popping. The longer a bottle of sparkling wine has been at rest, or the colder it is, the less likely it will go off like a firecracker.
Pour slowly (there’s no need to tilt the glass) and fill each glass to a little less than half-full. You can add more in the second round when the initial fizz begins to subside.