Sommelier Standards Sparkling Wine

Service of Sparkling Wines

The wine should be presented to the host in the same fashion as all the other wines. 

Formal Service You should have two napkins on your arm upon arrival at the table. They may overlap.

Casual Service A second napkin should be on the bottle neck when arriving at the table. 

To open the bottle remove it from the ice or cooler and wipe it dry with the 2nd napkin. Cut the foil in two cuts  below the wire twist (never only use the maker’s tab for they often break), pull on the foil at the cut point which should remove all the foil from the cage. Place your thumb over the cork and use your other hand to loosen the cage. Know the 6 half turns required! Unfold and place the 2nd napkin over your hand that is still holding the cork into the bottle. Grasp the bottle with the free hand over the top of the napkin and slide your hand that was holding the cork to the bottom of the bottle.

Lean the bottle to an angle of 30-45 degrees with the cork pointing away from the host, guest and other patrons. Grip the cork firmly with one hand and the bottle firmly with the other. Twist the bottle, not the cork, keeping the cork steady. As the cork loosens, ease it out of the bottle while still holding the bottle at an angle, being sure to keep the hand over the top of the cork. There should be only a slight hiss as the cork is removed. If the wine froths, keep the bottle at an angle, with the cloth held under the neck to absorb the wine. A technique to minimize noise at opening involves pulling the cork to the side of the bottle as if you were trying to break it in half right before it exits the bottle. This allows for greater control of the pressure release by directing it to one side of the cork. 

Offer the same small amount to the host to taste and then serve the other guests as for still wine. Care must be taken when pouring the sparkling wine to ensure the wine does not froth up in the glass and overflow. Remember that the proper service allows for only two pours so if the first pour begins to over froth, stop and let the wine settle before filling the glass the rest of the way. However, practice and aim to only use a single pour by pouring very slowly and evenly. Chilled glasses are permitted and may help reduce foaming.