I went to a champagne tasting yesterday, and one of the most important lessons I learned was how to open a champagne bottle properly.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your thumb on the cork at all times. There is a lot of pressure inside the bottle, and just by holding it in your hand, and warming the neck, you can have it burst open.
To open the bottle you have to twist the wire guard six times and exactly six times counter clock wise before you take it out.
Then, twist the bottle, not the cork, but the bottle very slowly in order to set the cork loose, and you will find that cork comes off with a pop on its own when you do this.
I don’t think I could have figured this out on my own ever and while the rest of the evening was very enjoyable as well, I think this lesson was the most useful part of the evening.
I’d also like to share a story that the expert there told us. I asked him how often experts get it right in blind tests, and he told us this story.
He said that during his third year of Oenology, their class had a blind test in which they had to simply distinguish between a red, white and a rosé wine. The entire class tasted the wines, and gave their results, and was surprised to see that they couldn’t agree on such a simple test, but then came the big surprise. Their teachers told them that each student had tasted the same red wine all three times, and not one person noticed that! That’s quite amazing if you ask me, and very useful to quote back if you ever encounter a wine snob!