Wine 101 on “The Broadcast” – Opening a Bottle of Bubbles

One of my favorite things to do in my wine profession is teach people about the beauty of the grape, in a fun and interactive atmosphere. Yesterday morning on “The Broadcast” the ladies and I had a lot of fun learning the proper method to open a bottle of sparkling wine, opening 4 bottles of Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava (one of my favorites.)

Included in our segment was my very fun, though slightly scary, lesson on sabering a bottle from Scott Lewis, owner of V Wine Cellars. Check out the links to both and keep in mind a few tips next time you are opening a bottle of bubbles, noted below.


Wine 101 on opening a bottle of bubbly:

  • Before you buy, always look for the bottle to say “Methode Champanoise” or Traditional Method somewhere on the bottle. This indicates the process for producing the bottle of bubbly includes the second fermentation occurring in the bottle, just like they do in Champagne. This is the most classic preparation, and by far, considered the best.
  • For the actual sparkling, Champagne has earned that title as the best, but a Cremant from France, usually made in Alsace, Burgundy or Loire, are also lovely and well produced. Alsace and Loire may have a touch more fruit notes in the wine based on the grapes used to produce the bubble, Burgundy will almost always use Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
  • Prosecco from Italy tends to be rather fruit forward, even a Brut Prosecco; where Brut Cava from Spain is almost always bone dry thanks to the high acid Spanish varieties used to produce the wine.
  • Sparkling wine from the U.S, South America, and any other region usually follows the traditional flavor profiles with Brut being dry, Extra Dry actually having a bit of residual sugar, Dry having a bit more. If you like a dry sparkler always select a Brut, Ultra Brut or Zero Dosage.
  • To open the bottle:
    • First remove the foil around the top of the bottle;
    • Then, carefully, twist the stem of the cage (the wire cover) counter clockwise 5 1/2 times to loosen;
    • Carefully remove the cage, keeping a hand on the cork so it doesn’t pop out (remember the pressure inside the bottle of Champagne is high and can seriously hurt someone if it pops out before you are prepared;)
    • Cover the bottle and cork with a towel or serviette;
    • With one hand on the cork and the other on the bottle carefully start turning the bottle (not the cork) to loosen the cork and remove it from the bottle;
    • To fully enjoy the bubbly, pour into a white wine glass, about 1/3 of the way up, to be able to enjoy the aromas of the wine and fully appreciate the flavor.