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Pubdate 2022-08-20 in wine related
Sparkling wine


The origin of the practice of sabering a bottle of Champagne is disputed and the truth is shrouded in the obscurity of history: was it the Hussars from Hungary, the Cossacks from Russia or Napoleon himself who first beheaded a bottle of bubbly?
Regardless of the background, as a novice you should be mindful of both yourself and your surroundings in the event of an impending sabering. There is a lot that can go wrong: the bottle can explode in your hand, shattered glass can hit both yourself and your spectators, the cork with its ring of glass can crush most things that have the misfortune to be in its way and broken glass inevitably ends up on the ground or the floor in the sabering area.
If you have decided to still move ahead you actually do not need a sabre or sword, regardless of the term being synonymous with the weapon: the procedure can actually be performed with pretty much anything that has an edge with little resistance. The most common is the back of a kitchen knife, but you can just as readily use the foot of a Champagne glass or the screen of a cap; the most important myth to ignore is that it is the brute force of the strike that makes the cork fly!
Foto Sabering av Demitri Fedorov
Here are the most important aspects to consider instead:

- The pressure in the bottle should be above 5 bar, as it is the bottle's inherent pressure that makes it all possible: all sparkling wines do not maintain a high enough pressure, so make sure to check first if there are other bubbles than Champagne in the bottle, the latter always holds a high pressure (unless it is an older wine such as a vintage Champagne or an aged non-vintage).

- Make sure that the bottle is well chilled, preferably in the refrigerator.

- Find the "seam" of the bottle, which goes from the bottom up to the mouth (a standard Champagne often has one on each side), the actual stroke then takes place along this seam.

- Hold the bottle in a firm grip with your fingers around the base and point it at a 45 degree angle with the cap upwards.

- Calmly but firmly stroke your chosen tool along the seam up to the weakest point of the bottle: the joint between the mouth of and the neck. Try the stroke a couple of times to test it out, when you feel ready, end the movement with a small flick of the wrist - and poof, you have sabered a bottle!

It may not work on the first try, so then try again, and practice on simpler wines if you feel unsure!
Foto Sabering av Champifoto
How about the eternal question of stemware for our long-awaited bubbles? Most people with a little know-how would say to choose "tulip-shaped" Champagne glasses, not flutes, straight glasses or coupes. We ourselves prefer to start with a very good Champagne glass with a wider cup that brings out the flavors and aromas in the best way, and then we move on to our heavy, decadent 19th century coupes in carved crystal glass. It doesn't get much better!
Sabering may well feel sophisticated and urbane, but a better Champagne actually loses out in the process; you will spill a lot of Champagne, but above all release carbon dioxide, and thus the Champagne mousse (the creamy bubbles) deteriorates; so sabering is in essence just for show. As a former flight attendant, Pea knows exactly how to open with elegance whilst staying safe: the relatively low pressure in the cabin gives an extra oomph to impatient bubbles and it takes some skill to control both the cork and the expensive contents. She lets you in on how to open a bottle of Champagne correctly; a smooth movement where the final sound should be like that of a woman's lust-filled sigh, nothing more:
Foto Sabering av Natascha B
- Hold the cork with your weakest hand, grab the bottle base with your strongest and turn the bottle (not the cork!) gently but firmly around the cork that will soon let go. Slowly and with full control, let the cork move through the neck until its end reaches the mouth. Then gently tilt the cork to one side and relieve the pressure, with an escaped whisper being the only sound. No drops spilled, no carbon dioxide wasted; that is how you open a real Champagne, for real!
Video - Sabering
Bruno Ohlzon
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