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Opening Your Bottle

Wednesday, December 1, 2004; Page F07

Many (otherwise wonderful) people drink sparkling wine only during the December holidays, and if you are among them, you might need a quick primer on how to open your bottle safely and in the classiest possible manner:

To remove the foil from the top of your bottle, gently pull the small tab just below the bottom of the wire cage to tear the foil along the perforation around the neck. With a thumb pressing down on the cap atop the cork, unwind the bottom of the cage by twisting the wire ring. This will require exactly six twists. Never stop exerting counter-pressure against the cork, and never remove the wire cage until you've eased the cork from the bottle.

Slip your palm around the cork while maintaining continuous downward pressure. Twisting either the cork or the bottle, ease the two apart as slowly as possible. By twisting slowly and exerting constant downward pressure, you should be able to remove the cork with a barely audible sound ("pfffffft") rather than a pop, which preserves effervescence and identifies you as a well-informed partyer. Cheers!

-- Michael Franz

© 2004 The Washington Post Company