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Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 12 of 21

How to Open a Bottle of Wine & Champagne


Become a Great Wine Taster

Lesson 12 of 21

How to Open a Bottle of Wine & Champagne


Lesson Info

How to Open a Bottle of Wine & Champagne

How do I open a bottle of wine? This is We're going to teach you how to do that. So let's assume that you if it's just a red wine or white wine and, um, and its young Thank you. I assume you've got a young bottle of red or white wine. There's no sentiment in it. You're ready to open it. The only thing I'm gonna show you that you want to do is you want to cut it below this lip. Cut the foil, right? If the screw cap. Actually, um, I worked in this really fantastic person at one point, and I would give her wine to take home. And she worked in the office of the restaurant, and she brought back the next incident. Just couldn't get it open. And she, like, mangled this. This cap was actually a screw cap that she had tried to open with the corkscrew. So, um Janey, So sweet, Uh, spirit cap. Really easy. Just twisted right off. Not hard, but it was a cork you wanted. Definitely cut it here, below the neck or below the lip, if you will. Not, not the top one, but actually the bottom one and get it...

out of the way. But let's assume that you've actually held this in your cellar for however many years. It's the right occasion now. And I told you in addition to the wine turning brown, what else happens in red wines? Something precipitates out pigment. So where does it go? It's still in this bottle, right? But ideally, you've seller this bottle on its side. And so all the precipitate is now sitting on the bottom here, right? And so let's assume it's in there. And so it looks sort of like silt on the bottom of a lake. If you just pick this bottle up, what happened to the silt? It's just got all mixed up. And so if you poor this, you're gonna have a glass of mud and this is actually really common mistake I see in restaurants and it bums me out like if you've taken all that time and waited all those years, What you want to do is you want to get the wine off the sediment and keep it in a nice clear glass, as opposed to pointing with the sediment. Then you know you've got this big glass full of mud and it sticks in your teeth and you look funny of your companions. And that's just the wrong thing to Dio. So the right thing to Dio when opening older bottle line is you wanted to can't it? And that's that's what we're gonna do here. So if it's in the cellar with the label down, don't pull it and flip it and looking label. Just keep it as it is. We're gonna assume that you did this correctly and you sell it it with the label up. And then how do you open it while it's on its side? You know, don't just stand it up. You want to, like, find something? You know, in fancy restaurants, they'll use things like the cancer cradles. And when I worked at the no in Aspen, we always very fancy decanter cradles. They looked nice. It's nice ceremony. A salad bowl works great just as long as it's not gonna roll over. So you've got it in there and we're gonna cut the foil much as I described to you on you. Cut it Well, Not too much notice of that. Cut it right a little below the lip and pull the whole thing off, right? That goes away then this is scruple, I think, is the best. The best wine opener. It's super leagues. They make some of them that actually have to hinges. And if you prefer that, that's fine, too. I like it just plain old waiter's friend style, and out it comes and you rated role. So when you're decanting a great pardon. Yes, When you see people sniffing the cork, what are they doing? Wasting their time? It's a great question. Yeah, yeah. You know this. You can smell this. And, you know, if the wines bad, I think that this is not a given to smell bad also. So I think that you mean why? Why bother? Just waiting. Smell the wine? Good. I mean, um so the next thing you want to do is not taste it right away. That's another mistake. You'll see. Like a lot of times in restaurants like Okay, they take great care. It's on its side, the bottles open, and then someone's gonna take a glass and have a sip. So you've moved the sediment and moving it to set it back down to see if it's good. Well, that's the only, you know, clear glass. Now you've just disturbed the sediment again. So you want to get it off there easily? Um, all telephones. Anyone have a knife in their pocket? Yeah. So this is this is the 21st century light, right? So this thing good bye now, the guy, Yeah. Yeah, this thing, this is what you need. So they use this, you got a decanter. This is actually really beautiful to Cantor from Salto, Um, who makes all these beautiful one glasses as well. But you can use a water pitcher. You can use a flower vase. You can use anything as long as it's clean. Doesn't smell bad in the light. So at this point, you're looking through the bottle through the wind through the bottle, and the light illuminates this whole thing so you can actually see the sediment, right? And so you just do it until you start to see the sediment comes at which point you stop and you leave it in there and don't just throw it out, you know, keep it like, by the time you've gotten through this and caught a little buzz, you're gonna want to drink that. But to start with, you know, you want to have the clear wine. And so that's what you dio one, um, important piece. Thank you. Is that frequently? If you've kept this for however many years before you pull the cork out, there's gonna be all kinds of mold and crowding corruption growing on the court. First ball. Don't be afraid of it. It's totally normal. And second of all, wipe it off. Right? So you're gonna wipe it off before you pull the cork, and then once the quirks out white. But again, you know, if a little bit of it gets in there, it's totally fine. It's part. It's part of the natural, the natural evolution of wine. And then there you go, you're ready to port. So let's assume champagne. So you guys drink champagne? Awesome. I drink it all the time. Yeah, like not quite daily, but several times a week. Open a bottle of champagne is actually a really important thing. To understand how to do well, very few people do, and it's dangerous, so it's really dangerous. So in making the champagne, there's a they make a white wine or pink wine, put it back in the bottle with a little bit more use and a little bit more sugar. And so the you see the sugar and they create the carbonation, which is what makes champagne so festive. It's also it makes champagne so dangerous. So the pressure in a champagne bottle that's pushing the on this court, the courts being held in by the cage. But the pressure pushing out is three times as high as the pressure in your car tires. Think about that. That's crazy. So it's £ per square inch, and it's pushing on this cork and you're just gonna take the cage often, like pointed around at your friends or whatever. Like super dangerous. It's super dangerous, so I don't want to do that the way you want to do this is also champagne frequently has, like a little a little tag to pull. Those things never work, so it's also good just to cut this and get it out of the way. So that goes away. And then here's the cage, right, and it's always, um, really good to put this over it, you know, some sort of napkin dish towel, paper towel anything, just in case it sprays, which it may do. And so my thumbs always on the court. Right. So you've still got the cage. You've got to get the cage off, right? You put the towel over it and keep your thumb over it, and that always has to stay that way. And then you put pull this little piece down and you twist. You don't know how many twists it is. Border six Every single time, every single time says Thumb stays on it. Cages still on it undone. They just kind of ease it out. And that's it. Audience Joe Wondering Are vacuum court corks effective in preventing the oxidation that we're talking about? That's a great question, Joe. They slow it down. We're gonna talk about some of the alternatives to that as well. They definitely slow it down, um, as well. Temperature. Like if you put these wines in the fridge, that reaction of oxidation will proceed. It a slower rate, but it's still happening. Yes. OK, so we opened it. No spray, no bubbles. And we never let go of the court. Definitely. Don't ever take the cage off and then just work with the cork. It's just six turns. Loosen it and it comes out together. Yes, please. So what, then, is the purpose of the people to, like savor that Superfund? It's really fun. And it's ceremony, all right. And so when you do that, you want to get the neck really, really cold, and we're not gonna demonstrate that here, and I'm certainly not gonna advocate it. Um, but I have done it, and it is a good fun, right? And so when you do that, it's a long knife that basically knocks it here in it, in the glass breaks and it flies with the cork. And so now you're sending glass and cork flying. Visit like, quickly Glasson in your champagne. Or if you do well, no. Cool. Yeah, again, I'm not gonna get anyone. Try that. But it's fun to Dio. Yeah, and he could could put glasses of champagne holding could blow up your hand Or you could, like, look like a hero and send it flying across the room and everybody's applauding and yeah, thing in the wine world. Or is it just show it's become more of a thing recently. Ah, good friend and a guy who's best at it. Patrick Cappiello does it on a regular basis at his place. Perlin Ash in New York and it's fun. It's a great show. Cool. Yeah, no questions about opening champagne or wine. I'm curious. Um, about the decanter? Yes. Would you need that if you didn't have an old wine? Have you had a week old? Wine? Depends So many wines these days. Air bottled on finding unfiltered. Um, And if you want to get it off the settlement, then and there is a sentiment like certain, um, not cab producers. It's actually a great example. A lot of them are actually bottled with a little bit of sediment. Um, you know, whether they admit it, intentional or not, it's in there. And so if you want to get it off of that, it's a good thing to Dio. But some you also bring up a good point. So what's happening to it now? It's oxidizing like we've begun that So this will taste like glass A does. Right now in an hour, it's gonna taste different and two hours in a taste different again. I hear people I hear I get asked this question all the time. Like how long should I crap it forward, too? Can't it for before I drink it? And the answer is like one second, right? So and it gets back to the apogee question like, who knows? You know, I mean, even for myself, like, I know what I want it to taste like. But I'm not gonna open the wine and then walk away from it for a couple hours because I could totally missed the fireworks when you could be in the restroom in the firework shows over, Right? You know, that's that's not okay. Um, so when I open and decant something, I taste it right away, and I keep tasting it over time. And if it's like, really wound up on really tight still, like sometimes with a young wine, I'll do that just to get it to get it going. The oxygen can help it open, up, out. And then I think, OK, well, it's not really where I want it, but I'm not going to sit there and just keep drinking it, you know, because I have to keep tasting, winning for to happen. And then I went open something else at the same time, so yeah. So, to your point of by two or by 12 I always at least have two or three things around. Yeah, Don't be afraid, Toe. Open it all up.

Class Description

Do you cower when presented with the wine list? Feel at a loss while walking the wine aisle? You are not alone! Many of us struggle to differentiate between the subtleties of the world’s oldest beverage. But wine is not destined to be difficult! Join Master Sommelier Richard Betts for a fun and informative guide to buying, tasting, and enjoying wine.

Become a Great Wine Taster is your guide to wine varietals, trends, and tastes. You’ll learn Richard’s “wine is a grocery, not a luxury” approach to wine while exploring the differences between regions and the history behind them. Richard will teach a simple method for looking at, smelling, and tasting each wine so you understand the nuances and the provenance of the drink in your glass. You’ll study the important factors and features of winemaking by exploring ideas through related varietals. Richard will discuss:

  • Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – the impact of climate and oak
  • Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Zinfandel – balance, sweetness, and alcohol content
  • Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, and Chenin Blanc – important grapes, small subtleties
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s subjects – regional expression of the ubiquitous reds
  • Pinot Noir – temperamental grapes and growing in France, California, Oregon and Australia
  • Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo – wine production in Italy and Spain
  • Syrah/Shiraz, Grenache and friends – blends and winemaker’s intent

You’ll also learn about the unique ways we modify wine, like making it sparkle, heating it, turning it into Port, and so much more! This class will help you get more comfortable with wine, remove much of it’s mystery, and show you how to integrate it into your everyday life.

Pair your appreciation for wine with knowledge in this accessible and educational class. Join Richard for Become a Great Wine Taster and never fumble over wine selection again.


a Creativelive Student

This course was amazing. As someone who felt really intimidated by wine before, I finished the course feeling a lot more confident and excited to try out my new wine knowledge. Great instructor with great content. Would definitely recommend!


Good course, needs to identify wines to set up tasting. It was fun to do with friends. Perfect to watch in the segments.


Fabulous! I've passed the Introductory Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers, but, never ginned up (pun intended) the deductive tasting. This did it. There are several of us who purchased this course and are doing out best to re-create the tastings and memorize the map. Thanks so much for the class and for Richard Betts.