Monday, March 29, 2010

Tiny Bubbles

When serving Champagne, sparkling wine or Prosecco, the presentation is critical. Most people know that a proper Champagne flute should be used (to facilitate maximum enjoyment of nose, taste and the lyrical rising of all those bubbles) but few understand how to prepare a bottle for a dinner party. Here are my rules:

1. A bottle is best presented in a silver bucket of ice and water. This bucket can be on the bar top or can be placed on a special stand to sit tableside.

2. Always remove the foil from the bottle, exposing the cork and cage. Do NOT remove the cage until ready to open the bottle. This indicates to guests that you are ready to serve them the wine and are not going to try and stick it back in the refrigerator in the hopes that no one drinks it. It's the same principle as never having an unburned candle at the looks like you are too cheap to ever light the candle. And if no one does drink the Champagne, you can always put it back in the fridge unopened, sans's not that big a deal.

3. Neither should one remove the cork prior to guests' arrival -- not even to "taste" for spoilage. Otherwise, it looks like you couldn't wait and were drinking down the wine by yourself, which is a far worse impression than serving a spoiled wine which, after all, is no fault of yours.

4. A spotlessly clean linen napkin should be tucked around the neck of the bottle to be used for holding the bottle after removal from the icy water in the bucket. The towel can also be looped through a ring on the bucket, if one exists.