How to open a bottle of still and sparkling wine: The correct steps
Uncorking a bottle involves a series of steps.
There are three possible situations. The uncorking of:
• a still wine;
• a still aged wine that shows a deposit on the bottom of the bottle;
• a sparkling wine.
So let’s examine the correct steps to uncork these types of wine.
Uncorking a bottle of still wine
The bottle must be placed on the table facing the diners so that the label is clearly visible. Cut the capsule at the lower lip of the bottle neck using the corkscrew knife, remove it and place on a saucer. With a cotton napkin, clean the upper part of the neck to remove any mould that may have formed.
Then insert the tip of the corkscrew into the centre of the cork. Hold the bottle firmly with your left hand while turning the screw into the cork to three-quarters of its length, taking care not to pierce the other end of the cork.
At this point, position the end of corkscrew lever to rest on the rim of the bottle neck and while one hand holds it firmly in place, with the other remove the cork by pulling up the other end of the corkscrew in a lever motion. Clean the rim of the bottle of any cork residues and sniff the cork to make sure there are no unusual odours, then proceed to serve the wine.
Uncorking a bottle of aged still wine
If the bottle to be opened displays a sediment, before serving it is a good rule to place it upright, leaving it there for the time necessary for the sediment to settle. Then you can proceed with uncorking, in the same way described above. The wine will be served at table with the use of a basket so as to keep the bottle in an oblique position.
If you have to open it without being able to wait for the sediment to fall to the bottom, proceed as follows: place the bottle in a basket and uncork it. The wine will then be poured into a special carafe (decanter), allowing it to interact with oxygen and release its aromas. Often this practice is necessary when the wine has spent a long time in the closed environment of the bottle.
When pouring it into the decanter, care must be taken so that no deposit falls into it. A light source, such as a lit candle positioned under the neck of the bottle, allows you to see the moment when the deposit is approaching the neck and to stop pouring.
The wine will then be served in the glasses directly from the carafe.
Uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine
Before uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine, you must first take care to dry it once it has been removed from the ice bucket in which it was previously placed. It is placed on the service table and the capsule and wire muzzle are removed, holding it in a vertical position. To prevent the pressure of carbon dioxide from expelling the cork before desired, place the thumb of your right hand on the cork.
At this point, lift the bottle up from the table, always keeping the thumb firmly held down while the other hand holds it by the bottom. Then rotate the cork slowly until completely extracted. If the operation is difficult, you can help yourself with the use of special pliers. A good idea is to keep the wire muzzle in place, since when turning the bottle this makes it easier to extract the mushroom-shaped cork.
All this must take place with the bottle pointing in the opposite direction to that of the diners.
Maria Cristina Pugnetti
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