Sabering a bottle of Champagne is one of the most dramatic and iconic gestures in the world of sommeliers and wine in general. Let's see the rules to know when using the saber to uncork sparkling wines and all the mistakes to avoid. In 5 simple steps.
What does sabrage mean?
Sabrage means sabre-making: it indicates opening a bottle of sparkling wine with a saber (a sword). The sabrage saber (sabre à Champagne) has a suitable blade, generally without tip, of variable length.
When is sabrage born?
Saber shooting began in France at the end of the eighteenth century: it was a practice used by Napoleon's troops to celebrate victories.
There are various courses to learn sabre, and often a diploma is also issued: from 45 minutes to a few hours to learn and practice.
What if you don't have a saber? You can also knock off the neck of a bottle of sparkling wine with various other objects: with the base of a glass, with your mobile phone, even with a credit card: what matters is that the glass of the bottle is frozen and the shot clear, in the right direction and in the right place.
- Read also: how to find your way around sparkling wines
How to saber? 5 rules for flawless saber shooting
1. Ice the neck of the bottle;
2. remove the aluminum capsule cover (the silver paper cap) and move the cage to the second notch (or remove it if you prefer);
3. take the bottle from the base (professionals wear a glove on the hand that holds the bottle), while the saber is held on the other hand;
4. a tip: each bottle is made up of two twin parts welded together: if you choose to hit the welding point you are even more sure of succeeding
5. tilt the sparkling wine by about 45° in the direction in which there are no people and slide the saber along the body of the bottle and hit the neck (not perpendicularly!) with a sharp and decisive blow
The neck will pop off, the sparkling wine will tend to leak out and will immediately be poured, to everyone's great joy.
Mistakes to avoid
- If the bottle is not perfectly ice-proof, do not remove the cage;
- do not hit the bottle perpendicularly but along the axis of the height of the bottle;
- never strike with little decision: an excessive blow is not necessary but this must be decisive.
- Read also: the technical terms of sparkling wine to know
When to saber and when not to saber?
The gesture is undoubtedly spectacular, the advice is to do it on occasions of exceptional celebrations and not with sparkling wines (whether Charmat or Classic Methods ) of particular value: the wine suffers from temperature changes and its organoleptic characteristics could suffer, not to mention of the fact that with sabering you always lose a little.
It is therefore not suitable with super top sparkling wines.