How To Open Champagne (Without Injury)

For Clovis Taittinger, 34, the welcome hiss of a champagne bottle opening is always something magical. He still stares at the bubbles rising in his flute with awe. He views removing the signature mushroom-shaped cork from a bottle of champagne as a ceremony of sorts and wants people to experience pleasure, not fear, when opening a bottle. Asked to advise those of us who did not grow up in one of champagne's most renowned family-owned Houses of an elegant and festive way to uncork a bottle for the holidays, he shared his thoughts on what makes for the most graceful presentation:

1) Take your time. Move slowly. Concentrate.
2) Remove the foil.
3) Keep pressure on the cork while twisting the key of the champagne's wire cage six times to the left. Discard the cage.
4) Cradle the body of the bottle in your dominant hand as you wrap your other hand around the neck and the cork, to prevent the cork from flying off.
5) Holding the bottle upright at a slight angle, turn the bottle until the cork pops off into your hand.
6) If successful, the pop of the cork should sound like a gunshot with a silencer.

Mastery comes with practice, says Clovis. This Christmas he will practice at home with his wife, parents, children, and a bottle of Taittinger's prestige cuvee — Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne."

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