LEARN CHAMPAGNE SERVICE
Opening Champagne or any sparkling wine is essentially the same as service for standard still wine. The differences are that sparkling wine uses a special cork and a wire cage that encloses it and an ice bucket is used to chill the wine. Opening Champagne and proper Champagne service may seem difficult but its not at all once you do it a few times. Would you like to know how to open champagne quietly? We’ll show you how! Champagne is a type of Sparkling wine. All Champagnes are Sparkling wine but not all Sparkling Wines are Champagne.
Serving sparkling wine is essentially the same as service for standard still wine. The differences are that sparkling wine uses a special cork and a wire cage that encloses it and an ice bucket is used to chill the wine. (Guests may request an ice bucket for white wine at times but it isn’t required for service like it is for sparkling wine service). As reviewed in other sections, Champagne is a type of Sparkling wine; and the term Sparkling wine will be used for the purposes of this tutorial but refers to all Champagne opening as well.
Again, as with standard service, take the order from the host. Repeat the order and confirm it with the host.
Bring the correct glassware (tulips or flutes) on a tray or by hand to the table. Starting with the person on the host’s left place each glass to the right or directly above the knife. Continue around the table in a clockwise direction, finishing with the host.
Prepare your ice bucket. It should have enough ice to keep the bottle at the appropriate temperature (43˚-50˚ F) but not so much that it spills out of the bucket. Adding the same amount of water as ice will allow you to keep the bottle properly chilled while making it easier for you to position the bottle in the ice at the same time. You will also need two serviettes.
Position the ice bucket and its stand to the host’s right. Cover the bucket with a clean serviette.
Holding the bottle in the air, present it to the host. Confirm the order again. Once the host confirms the order, you can remove the foil from the bottle. Remove it by cutting it. Use the tab if you absolutely must, but cutting it is a better option whenever possible. Remove the foil and place it in your pocket, out of sight.
Keeping your thumb or hand over the cork at all times, take a clean serviette and place it over the cage.
**Sparkling wines are under a tremendous amount of pressure. Care should always be exercised as the cork can fly off unexpectedly once the cage is loosened. Always keep a hold of the cork, at all times!
Loosen the cage but do not remove it. Make sure the cork is pointed away from the guests (including guests at other tables). The bottle should be at a 45 degree angle. You can keep it in the air or put it against the inside of the bucket. Do not hold it against your body.
Firmly hold the cork through the serviette (serviette on top of the wire cage on the bottle) and twist the bottle away from it. By leaving the cage on top of the cork and holding the serviette on the outside, it will greatly help your grip on the cork. The serviette on top of the cork/cage will also help catch any initial spills from the sparkling wine. Ease the cork out of the bottle. There should be very little noise and preferably none at all when removing the cork. The “popping” sound as seen in the movies is incorrect. Keep the bottle at a 45˚ angle until all of the initial carbon dioxide rush has dissipated.
Remove the cage from the cork and place it in your pocket or apron. Place the cork on the under-liner that is at the host’s right that you have placed earlier when placing the glassware, informal environments. Always check with management prior to service, for proper procedures.
Hold the bottle in your right hand with the label facing the host. You can also hold it by the punt. Using two fingers to support the neck from underneath is acceptable when needed. Pour an ounce or less into the host’s glass for tasting. Take a step back and wait for the host to taste and offer approval.
Once the host has approved the selection, you will begin to pour for the guests. If there is a guest of honor, pour for them first. You should fill each glass ½ to ¾ full. The pouring procedure is the same as for standard wine service; however, once the pouring is complete the bottle should be returned to the ice bucket to chill and not the table.
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