Monday, December 29, 2008

Important Advice

I was looking at a recent book by a butler, about manners and how to get along. Sensible advice but I quibble with his description of how to open a bottle of sparkling wine. He was doing fine until he ripped the cork free with a loud pop. Big Drama, but lives are at stake. For SAFETY'S SAKE, read on:

  1. Remove the wire cage from the bottle, always keeping a finger or thumb on top of the cork. Corks can pop without your help, and with devastating force. Could be a bad thing.

  2. Hold cork in one hand, bottle in the other. Keep the bottle horizontal. The reason? The pressure is upward from the surface of the wine. Holding the bottle vertically can inspire a rapid exodus of the contents of the bottle towards unprepared regions. You can wrap the bottle in towel or napkin, for a better grip and added safety, but you will look a bit poncy. Also, wear a Kevlar suit.

  3. Twist the cork slowly. I have heard it advised that one should twist the bottle. In my experience, it is easier to twist the cork. Do whatever you think is right. Just because I have professional experience does not mean you should listen.

  4. Ease the cork out. The trapped gas will help.

  5. As the cork reaches the point of extrication, maintain a firm grip on the cork and let the gas slowly hiss out as you raise the bottle to a vertical and remove the cork entirely. Oh darn, did not spill a drop.

  6. Pour wine into glasses, not the ones modeled after Marie Antoinette's breast--oh those French!--but tall flutes. Flutes are made with a rougher surface. Bubbles emanate from those rough points. Oo, the bubbles tickle your nose!

  7. Hail the New Year, lads and lasses.

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