Opening Champagne is not difficult- and far more exciting- than opening a bottle of still wine. Each Champagne bottle is under 6 atmospheres of pressure, about the same as a truck tire. With so much pressure behind it, a cork can fly an astounding distance. But that’s only if you open the bottle incorrectly. The correct, safe, and controlled way to open and serve Champagne is:
1. Break and remove the foil, not the wire cage, from around the cork.
2. Place your thumb firmly on top of the cork to keep the cork from flying.
3. With your other hand, unscrew the wire (it takes about six turns) and loosen the cages. You actually don’t have to take the cage off completely.
4.Holding the cork firmly, begin to twist it in one direction as, from the bottom, you twist the bottle in the other direction. Contrary to popular opinion, a Champagne cork should not make a loud thwork! You’re supposed to ease the cork out, so that it makes just a light hissing sound. Unbidden, more than one older Frenchman has advised me that a Champagne bottle, correctly opened, should make a sound no greater than that of a contented woman’s sigh. Frenchmen are French men after all.
5. Holding the bottle around the base, pour. Fill each glass with about 2 inches of Champagne. Then go back and top them all up.
6. If there’s Champagne left, seal the bottle using a Champagne stopper and place it back in the ice bucket to refrigerator.
7. In Champagne, it’s considered rude to turn an empty bottle upside down in an ice bucket.