How should I open sparkling wine?

Sparkling wine is usually served at special occasions and demand special care when serving. Start by finding the little tab at the side of the foil and pulling it off, and then remove the top of the foil to expose the cork in its wire cage.

Take care to keep the bottle aimed away from people or breakables at all times, as the contents are under high pressure.

Twist the wire loop to loosen it. Remove the cage gently. Hold the cork firmly with a cloth to protect your hand and gently twist the bottle with the other hand, pulling downwards. In other words, don’t turn the cork, turn the bottle.

Here’s what is important about opening a champagne bottle: don’t let the cork fly across the room! The cork should leave the bottle with a soft plop, rather than a bang.

In France they say the cork should leave the bottle with a satisfied sigh.

The idea of firing the cork over the heads of bystanders is generally acceptable only when you win the Grand Prix and you don’t intend to drink the contents. You can lose a lot of wine that way and the sudden release of pressure makes the wine lose some of its sparkle. When you pour sparkling wine tilt the glass slightly and pour the liquid down the side of the glass so as not to create a head of bubbles.

Use tall Champagne flute glasses rather than Champagne saucers. The flat saucers provide a large surface area, so the bubbles are soon dissipated. Tall glasses allow the bubbles to last until the end of the drink. It’s also fun to watch the columns of tiny bubbly rise all the way up a long flute glass.