POPPING THE CORK
Sparkling wine only really became possible when it was discovered that cork could be used to seal the bottle. Corks are made out of the bark of the cork oak and consist of compressed pieces of cork that are very durable. The end that comes into contact with the sparkling wine is made up of two or three pieces of cork.
The sound of a popping cork is a well-established symbol of joy and excitement, and it signals the start of a celebration. But if you open the bottle too quickly, the sparkling wine can spill over due to the sudden drop in pressure – which is a real waste of a good drink.
The right way to do it
- Carefully remove the foil, hold the cork steady and loosen the wire cage.
- Twist the bottle gently and the cork will ease out of the neck.
- While you’re twisting the bottle, hold the cork in place and allow the carbon dioxide to slowly escape from the bottle.
- Always make sure you point the bottle away from self and others while you’re opening it.
- If the cork is stuck, a special bottle opener for sparkling wine (or, alternatively, a nutcracker) will do the job.
- If the cork is broken, wrap a napkin around the neck of the bottle and use a corkscrew to open it.
- To avoid injury, never point the top of the bottle towards your eyes – or towards other people.
- When the bottle makes a slight sighing sound (rather than a loud ‘pop’), the sparkling wine is ready to pour. And you’ll be rewarded for your careful handling of the bottle with a more vibrant and longer-lasting perlage.