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Step-by-step guide: How to open Champagne like a pro

Left to right: Seaview Brut; Veuve Clicquot 'La Grande Dame' 1995; Sumac Ridge Steller's Jay Image by: Left to right: Seaview Brut; Veuve Clicquot 'La Grande Dame' 1995; Sumac Ridge Steller's Jay Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

Step-by-step guide: How to open Champagne like a pro

Dramatically popping a Champagne cork -- sending it sky-high and soaking your surroundings with the bubbly beverage -- is both wasteful and potentially dangerous. A slow release of pressure (known as the lover's sigh) prevents wine from gushing out and keeps  the cork from popping off in all directions.

Consult the following tips for an elegant pour.

1. Chill your Champagne or sparkling wine
Serve Champagne and sparkling wine chilled (about 7 C). To chill wine quickly, place the bottle in a bucket with equal parts ice and cold water.2. Safely remove foil and cage
Remove foil and cage while pointing bottle in a safe direction and keeping thumb firmly on cap.3. Gently twist the bottom - not the cork
Cover cork with towel. While holding cork in one hand, gently twist the bottle until the cork eases out, tilting slightly to allow gas pressure to escape out one side with a gentle "poof" or "sigh" (not pop).4. Watch the drips
Wrap bottle with a cloth napkin when pouring so water or condensation from chilling doesn't drip on the table or into the glass.5. Serve and enjoy!
Serve wine in flutes to best admire and retain bubbles, pouring about halfway full.

Read more
Learn to read and decode Champagne labels
Watch a video on how to open a bottle of champagne

This article was originally titled "A Dinner to Remember" from the January 2006 issue of Canadian Living magazine.
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Cooking School

Step-by-step guide: How to open Champagne like a pro

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