Opening Champagne and Other Sparkling Wine
Opening a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine (a bottle of "bubbles," as they say in the California wine trade...) obviously requires an entirely different technique than still wines. This is because the carbon dioxide bubbles in the wine cause tremendous pressure to build up in the bottle, and if you're not careful, the cork an fly out dangerously. (You could put an eye out that way!)
Opening a bottle of champagne frightens lots of people, too, but it's really quite easy.
First, remove the foil.
Next, being careful not to point the cork toward anyone, twist the loop on the wire cage until it is disengaged. Carefully remove the cage.
Grasp the cork with one hand, keeping the hand over the cork to prevent it from flying out while you use the other hand to twist the bottle
gently but firmly until it's opened. There won't be a loud pop, but hey--there's not supposed to be! You should hear just a gentle little "phssht
Pour about an inch of wine into each glass, and then go back and fill them up. This technique prevents them from bubbling over.
Cheers!Wines to Bring to a Dinner Party
Impressive and interesting wines to bring to dinner that won't break the bank:
Albari±o from Spain
Vin Santo from Italy
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
Ribera del Duero
Or consider one of these particular bottles from California:
Scharffenberger Brut, Blanc de Blanc, or Brut RosÚ
Domaine Chandon Etoile or Brut
Mumm Napa CuvÚe Napa
Au Bon Climat Chardonnay
Calera Pinot Noir
Chalone Pinot Noir
Bonny Don Vin de GlaciÞre
Preston Muscat Br¹lÚ
Excerpted from Fear of Wine by Leslie Brenner & Lettie Teague. Copyright © 1995 by Leslie Brenner. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.