'What's the best way to open a bottle of sparkling wine?"

Monday, 3 December, 2012
Dear Chard O’Nay,

I’m getting ready for the festive season and am stocking up on lots of bubbly for my Christmas party. However, I want it to be an evening to be remembered and was wondering what the best way to open a bottle of sparkling wine is?

Many thanks,

B. Ubulus
Dear Bubbly-lover,

Methode Cap Classique (MCC) represents the South African form of the traditional Champagne method and is made expertly by over 43 different wine makers. Traditionally it is a celebratory drink yet the scope of varieties that the winelands has to offer means that you can literally do a Marilyn Monroe and bath in the stuff, although I would rather recommend drinking it.

My suggestion for causing a big bang would be to open it with great gusto, flourish and a sense of your own self importance. For the ultimate in showmanship, aim to thrill through the Sabrage technique which require a sabre and a good distance between you and your guests. To get this right, you slide the sabre along the body of the bottle in a swift, quick motion which breaks the neck away from the bottle. For a demonstration head to J.C Le Roux where they will personally teach you this grand art or watch this video.

If however you want something a little more low-key, here is a step-by-step guide to opening a bottle of bubbly:
1)    Remove the foil from around the top of the bottle. This should not require any fancy foil cutting equipment and should come away easily.
2)    There may be additional wiring on the neck which you should slowly untwist and remove whilst keep a secure thumb on the cork -  just in case.
3)    Firmly grab the base of the bottle with one hand and with the other, start to unscrew and twist the cork out. Doing it slowly, in the manner, prevents the bubbly from bursting out and creating a mess.

Catch some of South Africa’s best MCC makers ‘popping their corks’ for more how-to tips.

Got a question you need answered? Send it in to editor@wine.co.za with the subject heading ‘Agony Aunt’.