What precautions should I take before opening a sparkling wine?

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It’s a situation many of us have been in: about to pop open a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, you suddenly realise that you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen, with the result being a lot of wasted wine and a cork flying across the room. When opening a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s worth, then, considering some precautions that you can take to prevent accidents from occurring during celebrations.

It’s first important to learn the right method for safely removing a cork; this can be trickier than it might first appear for a bottle of wine, with the bubbles from sparkling wine and champagne more likely to create enough pressure to release a cork at high speed. To make things safer, it’s important to first remove the foil on a bottle before carefully adjusting the wire cage, turning the bottle rather than the cork away from you to gradually release its pressure; point the bottle away from other people and breakable objects while doing so.

At the same time, it’s worth thinking about the different wine bottle openers that you can use with sparkling wine. Champagne cork removers can be fitted on top of a bottle and used to safely remove it. Some examples of these openers include nickel swift-turn champagne openers, as well as champagne sabers, which involve using a small, sharp knife. Screwpulls and opening keys can similarly be used, while a towel can be wrapped around the top of a bottle to soak up any excess foam when it gets opened.

Before opening a bottle of sparkling wine, it’s important to check its temperature; this is particularly the case with champagne, which should be safely stored in a bucket of ice water to lower its temperature. If a bottle is too warm, it’s more likely to foam and spill over the top of a bottle, causing a mess and losing some valuable wine. Putting a bottle of sparkling wine in an ice bucket 20 or so minutes before opening should be fine to get it to the right temperature.

When pouring a bottle of sparkling wine or champagne, it’s crucial to avoid creating a large amount of head in a glass. With a sparkling wine, use a tall champagne flute to get the most out of a bottle. Pour about an ounce of wine into a glass, and wait for the foaming bubbles to go down before adding more liquid. Filling about two thirds of a glass will enable you to prevent creating too much foam.

When opening a bottle of sparkling wine, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that a bottle that’s opened too quickly can cause serious damage. Letting someone else open a bottle without knowing the best method to use can similarly lead to corks accidentally hitting people, or smashing glasses and other vulnerable items. If you have to make a bottle’s cork pop, make sure that the bottle is angled towards a curtain or a space without any breakable items.

Author Bio : Janifar is a freelance writer on wine and home cooking. She’s recently been exploring the many options available for sparkling wine in the UK.

December 22nd, 2014 by