The most important thing to know about wine is how to open it. Without that knowledge, the enjoyment and necessity for wine at a shindig becomes quite obsolete. So here is a little “Opening 101” to help you hurdle that nightmarish obstacle to let the pouring being!
As most people who have taken a jaunt down the alcohol isle of any credible (or even mediocre to quite dodgy) super market/liquor store, one is sure to notice that there are indeed TWO types of fasteners that separate the good stuff from our eager mouths. These fasteners include the not-so-trendy-but-extremely-efficient twist cap and the traditional cork.
The explanation for impressive opening styles on a twist cap is quite excessive, but the proper technique to create optimal awe within your audience during the act of opening a cork bottle is quite complex and extremely necessary. There are a plethora of tools available in a range of prices and functionality. First off, on the “executive” list, there is the automatic opener that simply requires the push of a button to demonstrate the depth of one’s pocket as well as pulls the cork from the bottle. The next “caste” of openers is typically styled with a metal screw and a means to gain leverage to extract the cork. These types of bottle openers are, in my opinion, the most impressive of them all because they are often times quite finicky and beg for that sweet spot. These openers really embody the “practice doesn’t make you quite perfect, but definitely makes you a little better” mentality. You must appropriately place the tip of the metal screw in the center of the cork in order to twist at the perfect perpendicular angle. Then there is the necessity for superb forearm and bicep strength to pull the cork out without having it break or splash wine everywhere. These openers occasionally contain little knives that are used as foil cutters or used to not-so-politely stab the cork after a particularly difficult extraction. The foil should be cut either right above or right below the little bump or “collar” near the top of the bottle’s neck. I prefer using a separate foil cutter that allows you to simply twist the top foil off in a neat and orderly manner. The tiny knife requires a bit more practice and patience and surely creates more excitement among the crowd, but the foil cutters do the same job (even if it is in a less riveting manner). The other major benefit of these openers is that they are versatile in the most excellent way. Most of these styles also supply a means to lift bottle caps for drinks such as beer. Now as you all know, this is strictly a wine blog, but every once in a while you might just find yourself needing that little release to your college years when you were at a much less sophisticated time of your life and would enjoy a bottle of beer. But remember, it is just one bottle of beer and then it is back to the wonderful wine! And if you really want to head back to those extraordinary moments of drinking in your college years, you can always show homage by opening that nice bottle of wine by wrapping a towel around the bottom of the bottle and patiently hitting it against a wall until the cork pops out. It works every time (after about ten minutes)!
This new found knowledge of which openers to use with a little technique can help get you ready to impress those best friends and uninvited neighbors at your next dinner party. And remember, always live by the mantra “fake it until you make it!” Although faking how to open a bottle a wine is a bit difficult so maybe just practice a few times before you build an audience…