Category Archives: BOTTLES


Sabering Champagne

Alton-with-SaberNapoleon is known to have said “Champagne, in victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it.” And he should know. As his light calvary units stylishly charged around Europe in the early 19th century they drank a great deal of the stuff, or so legend states. Being typically in a rush and not wishing to fuss with more traditional modes of cork removal, these rakish lads got in the habit of simply lopping the tops of the bottles off with their sabers. The art of sabrage or “sabering” might seem a quaint anachronism were it not for the fact that deftly and nonchalantly displaying skill at this bit of lethal legerdemain tells everyone in your party that you have a saber, you aren’t afraid to use it, and there’s champagne. In this day and age I can think of few reasons more noble.

Since we live in an the age litigator – I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that under no condition do I advocate you attempting to undertake this desperately dangerous display of panache. Odds are you’re not cool enough anyway and will just come off looking like a dope with a fistful of glass standing in a bubbly puddle.

Start with a bottle of french champagne because they use thicker glass and that’ll make for a cleaner annulus or ring of glass. Take the bottle to be sabered and turn upside down in ice for at least 10 minutes. You want the neck as cold as possible. Meanwhile we’ll review some physics.
Due to a secondary fermentation inside the bottle, Carbon dioxide produced by live yeast builds up pressure typically in the range of 5 to 6 atmospheres, that’s 90 pounds of pressure per square inch which translates to 620 kiloPascals. In other words, a corked champagne bottle is a bomb waiting to go off. The point is focus and control the blast to get at the stuff inside. This can be done by applying a sharp blow here where one of the bottle seams meats the lip of the bottle or annulus…stop snickering! This is serious business. Said blow must be focused, resulting from a smooth, rapid movement of a metal object. I’ve seen it done with a lawn mower blade but why use such a rare object when you’ve got a saber hanging around?

Now, remove the outer foil from the bottle and the cage, that wire thingy that keeps the cork from just blowing out whenever it feels like.Locate one of the two seams and use either your finger or a spoon to scrape away any foil or paper that remains leaving a clean trail to the annulus. Stop snickering!

Dry the bottle thoroughly and hold in your non dominant hand with your thumb in the punt. What are you laughing at!? This will place the bottle at oh, a 30 degree angle and it keeps your hand out of the way of your magnificently sharp saber. I should add that any sword with a gentle sweep or crescent blade will do the trick so feel free to use your scimitar, or even your katana but not a Hattori Hanzo the edge of which should be kept razor sharp at all times. I like to lay a clean towel, or serviette over my hand here just in case a cleanup is warranted. Lay the blade flat against the glass midway up the bottle. Doesn’t matter if you use the back or edge of the blade, both will work. Lift the back ever so slightly and then swing through…like a golf swing meaning don’t try to stop at the contact point.
make sure you saber away from populated areas as the pressure in the bottle will turn the cork and annulus into a projectile…stop snickering.
Done properly the break will be completely clean but you should always inspect the glass for shards. And do be careful pouring as the broken bit of neck could be sharp.

19.5 feet. A record. Please dispose of this properly. Actually you won’t have to because you’re not going to do this. Right? Right.


A Melchizedek of champers: 9 word facts about champagne

Glasses1It’s always difficult to say “Hello!” to January and “Good-bye…” to the holidays. Suddenly we find ourselves bogged down by the usual January blues—not to mention subjected to Blue Monday’s annual arrival — and burdened by certain debts after all that sweet and savory celebrating. Cookies, cakes, candy…butter cast haphazardly into every bubbling pot or whirring food mixer…and all capped off with a good dose of champagne come New Year’s Eve!

If it is going to be a while before you pop the next champagne cork, and you want to stave off those January blues, here’s a list of 9 interesting (and 0-calorie) champagne-related word facts to help you last until your next fix of bubbles.

1. The word champagne is derived from Latin campania, first used to describe the level open countryside around Rome. It now refers to a province in northeast France where the champagne grapes are grown, as well as to the wine itself. Latin campania is a derivative of campus, originally meaning simply a field; now in English, ‘campus’ denotes the grounds of a college or university.

2. Bubbly, a common nickname for champagne, is short for the now rarebubbly water. However, the wine was not always bubbly; up through the 19th century champagne was known largely as a pink, still wine. Any bubbliness posed difficulties: the wine would stop fermenting during the cold winters and then re-ferment in the spring, resulting in a release of carbon dioxide that tended to break the bottles. Eventually, the development of stronger bottles meant that drinkers could enjoy the sparkle that would become a defining characteristic of champagne.

3. The word bubble comes from the noun burble (also meaning a bubble), which comes from the now-obsolete verb burble, meaning to form bubbles; it’s probably onomatopoeic, a theory which makes sense if you imagine the sound of bubbles forming and popping , for example, in boiling water.

4. Speaking of onomatopoeias, another word for champagne (as well as any sparkling drink) is fizz; the noun comes from the verb fizz, a word which is purely imitative of the sound it represents.

5. An informal British name for champagne is champers. We see this same, typically British formulation of first-syllable plus -ers suffix in words likepreggers (pregnant).

6. You can also call champagne by the abbreviation sham. Compare alsoshampoo, an arbitrary alteration of the word.

7. If you’ve heard of champagne—or have 50 Cent or Jay-Z in your MP3 player—you’ve probably heard of Dom Pérignon, the prestigious brand of champagne often enjoyed by the rich and the famous. It’s named for Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk of the 17th century who contributed largely to the improvement of (still) Champagne wines during his lifetime. “Dom” was not his first name, by the way; instead, it’s a title (short for the Latin Dominus, ‘master’) given to certain distinguished Benedictine and Carthusian monks.

8. If you really want to impress your friends, tell them pre-toast that the champagne you’re about to enjoy is brut or demi-sec: two French words designating the taste of the wine. Brut champagne is unsweetened; the wordbrut means ‘rough’ or ‘raw’. (It’s related to the English brute, or ‘a savagely violent person or animal’, and comes from the Latin brutus meaning ‘dull, stupid’—just ask Julius Caesar.) Demi-sec, on the other hand, indicates a medium dry (or moderately sweetened) wine. We see a relative of this word in the German sparkling wine Sekt.

9. Have you ever seen one of those enormous bottles of champagne in a store window (and felt a hangover coming on just from looking at one of them)—40 times the size of a standard wine bottle? One of these enormous bottles is called a Melchizedek, named for the king and priest of the Book of Genesis who blesses Abram; his name literally means ‘my king is righteous’. Indeed, there are many different sized bottles of wine—from 0.1875 liters to 40—and, curiously, most are named for Biblical figures like Melchizedek. (Half a Melchizedek is a Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, and a fifth of a Melchizedek is known as a Methuselah.)

However, if it seems a bit too indulgent to pop another cork this year—or if (heaven forbid) you “get no kick from champagne” at all—it’s important to remember what can truly banish the January gloom: friends. (Especially friends who are happy to be regaled with tales of Benedictine monks and unexpected cognates at the next champagne-drinking opportunity!)


Las Vegas Love Affair – Beau Joie

One of the countless reasons Las Vegans are entangled in a love affair with Champagne is the elegant way it turns even an afternoon by the pool into a special event. Now there’s a notable new twist to the revered classic.

The copper-clad Beau Joie Champagne is made in Epernay, France, but has a local connection: This unique cuvée bubbly is the brainchild of Henderson-based Toast Spirits. Debuting last year in clubs at Aria, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas, Beau’s high-quality, distinct bottle design and limited availability exude exclusivity.

“Beau is about delivering a unique experience,” says Toast Spirits cofounder and chief marketing officer Brandis Deitelbaum. “Consumers have had to choose among the same staid Champagne brands for years. We saw an opportunity to infuse the world of Champagne with romance, chivalry, strength and sexiness.”

Crafted from the first (and best) portion of the grape pressing, Beau Joie (meaning “beautiful joy”) is a blend of 60 percent Pinot Noir—which gives Champagne its body and aroma—and 40 percent Chardonnay, providing elegance and finesse. The absence of dosage (extra sugar) means you’re enjoying a dry, rich Extra Brut Champagne, without the fruity, sweet notes that can drag down less complex sparklers. Beau Rosé, new this year, is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Again, it’s on the dry side, helping avoid that sweet-Asti headache the next day

Beau Joie’s creative packaging isn’t simply window dressing. The repurposed copper latticework surrounding the bottle simultaneously evokes medieval knights, rock stars and Hollywood glam. According to Deitelbaum, it’s also functional: “Copper is a natural conductor and keeps the bottle colder longer.” A patent-pending rubber punt (base) provides extra stability, in case a bubbly-infused evening turns into a late night—or early morning. The bottles are recycled, but many fans have already noticed how beautifully they adorn a table or windowsill.