Sunday, October 12, 2008

how to uncork a bottle of wine

First you need the proper equipment. There are people who open bottles of wine everyday for a living. These people are called waiters. There is a tool called the waiter's key. This is not a coincidence. Proper ones look like this:

The thing on the left is a foil cutter. You can get by without one, but they're very cheap and make your life a bit easier. If you don't have one, you must use the little "knife" on the back of the waiter's key.

The important thing is to get a waiter's key that has the hinge. To do it properly you have to have the two stages. See the orange arrow.

Use the foil cutter to remove the foil. One twist while pressing inward and it should come right off cleanly.

Next open up the waiter's key and insert the corkscrew. You do not want to push the tip directly into the center. Instead, you want to do it slightly off-center so that the center of the corkscrew spiral is aligned with the center of the cork itself.

The next part is the part that so many wine-opening gadgets get wrong. You want to twist the corkscrew down far enough into the cork so that you can maximize the volume of cork you exert force on while pulling it out. However it is of utmost importance that you do not puncture the bottom of the cork. Things like The Rabbit and counter-mounted cork extracting machines almost universally puncture the bottom of the cork. Those weird cork extractors that have the two arms that go up while you screw the thing downward are also notorious for doing this--they can't function properly without breaking the bottom of the cork. If you break the bottom of the cork, depending on the age and composition of the cork, you most likely end up with bits of cork floating in the wine. Which nobody likes.

With the waiter's key you generally want to leave about a full twist above the top of the cork. Once you are at the proper depth, put the first stage of the metal arm on the rim of the bottle and make sure the hinge is bent inward.

Then you simply left the lever while holding the metal arm in place with your free hand.

When the cork cannot be pulled further, move the hinge so that it is bent outward and put the second stage of the metal arm on the rim.

Pull upward on the lever one more time and the cork should slide right out with no pulling or problems.

At this point you remove the cork from the cork screw, make sure the bottom of the cork is wet by touching it with your finger and smell the wine in the bottle. If the cork is dry and the wine smells like socks and nasty, find another bottle. Otherwise, drink and enjoy.

If at any point the cork doesn't move easily, jiggle the lever up and down or give the screw another bit of a twist and try again. Basically approach it as you would any stuck item by trying to loosen it by applying forces in different places until it comes unstuck.


Anonymous said...

Burgundy wine
(French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.[1] The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Red and white wines are also made from other grape varieties, such as Gamay and Aligoté respectively. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are also produced in the region. Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as "Burgundy wines".

Burgundy has a higher number of Appellation d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy go back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry. The appellations of Burgundy (not including Chablis).

Overview in the middle, the southern part to the left, and the northern part to the right. The Burgundy region runs from Auxerre in the north down to Mâcon in the south, or down to Lyon if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy. Chablis, a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes, is produced in the area around Auxerre. Other smaller appellations near to Chablis include Irancy, which produces red wines and Saint-Bris, which produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines originate, and where all Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are situated. The Côte d'Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which starts just south of Dijon and runs till Corgoloin, a few kilometers south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. T

he best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region's white Grand Crus are located in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where again a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well known than their counterparts in the Côte d'Or. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region, famous for fruity red wines made from Gamay. Burgundy experiences a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy.
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vin said...

this was a very helpful article with clear descriptions that helped save me from a potential broken bottle and some pulled arm-muscles~

i was able to enjoy my wine with the family without incident! >[:D