Wine made easy while at home – Part 3
We’re all about making wine easy. So while you find yourself at home, why not brush up on all the skills necessary to really make the most of your wine?
In this edition, let’s address how to open wine well. And yes, the reality is it’s very possible to open a wine really badly!
LESSON 3: OPEN SEASON
First things first, with the proliferation of screw cap bottles, we’re guessing you’ve got these types of openings under belt. If not, perhaps lock down living is really getting the best of you and it’s time to lay off the wine for a bit!
Still, many wines have a foil case around their top. It’s best to cut this foil at the bottom lip, not the top one. This will reduce the chance of stray drips as you pour. Ironically, most foil cutters are designed to cut the top of the lip. Cutting the top lip is more visually appealing and ideal for wine selfies on Instagram. High fashion or good old function: it’s your choice really.
Now onto that age-old question: Where to poke the cork?
The answer: slightly off center. This will help to make sure that the curly screw stays roughly centered as it winds its way down, reducing the likelihood of you tearing the cork.
To further keep the cork from breaking, keep in mind that it takes about seven turns to insert the screw into the best spot. This will get the screw to about one turn less than all the way in. Some fine wines have longer corks though and you might them want to add a few more turns (it’s tough work, we know, but the rewards are close at hand).
What if I don’t have a corkscrew?
Now you’re really screwed. Just kidding – where there’s a will (and an unopened bottle of wine during lock down) there most certainly is a way! You could try using an actual screw. The longer the better. Screw into the cork using a screwdriver (at a slight angle) , then use the back of a hammer to pull the cork out. If that fails, or your toolbox is not at hand, you could try the much more riskier (and bizarre) option of wrapping your bottle in a thick towel and slapping it repeatedly with a shoe! Unbelievably, if you do this enough times, the cork will apparently begin to come out. Stop your shoe slapping long before the cork has made its way totally out though, and use your brute force and sheer desperation to do the rest.
Is there a correct way to open bubbly?
Yes, there is. Firstly, a chilled bottle of bubbly will be far less volatile than a warmer one. Remove the foil (there’s usually a little pull tag to make this easier), loosen and remove the wire cage by turning the small wire ‘key’ that’s pressed up against the neck at the bottom of the cage. Now drape a dish towel over the cork (just in case the built-up pressure is really great). Finally, grasp the base of the bottle with your dominant hand and the cork with the other. Surprise twist: Do not try to twist the cork. Instead, hold the cork firmly while you turn the bottle slowly. You should start to feel the cork loosen and ease into your hand.
Pro Tip: To avoid a frothy overflow, pour only about an inch of wine into each glass at first. Wait a few seconds before continuing to fill.
Until next time… Cheers!