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You've been popping that Champagne bottle all wrong

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.

The way you pop that cork can make a world of difference in how your bubbly tastes

Did you know the way you open a bottle of Champagne can change the way it tastes?

Crazy but true. It's all about the bubbles, baby, keeping them in your wine and ready to do their gorgeous little dance across your tongue.

More: Champagne doesn't prevent dementia, but there are plenty of reasons to drink it

A "hard" pop of a Champagne (or sparkling wine) bottle is your typical loud, potentially blinding affair that includes a cork shooting across the room and a very loud and festive "pop!" sound, which is almost always followed by a chorus of "yaaays!" from the crowd. It's all part of the fun. But the hard pop is killing the taste of your wine.

Surprising but true!

During a recent visit I made to the Domaine Carneros winery in Sonoma, California, which produces Taittinger sparkling wines, the expert on hand demonstrated the "soft pop" technique. Then he opened a bottle in the typical "hard pop" style and let us taste the difference. It was noticeable. The soft pop wine tasted softer, more buttery and had far more bubbles than the hard-popped bottle.

More: Health benefits of Champagne

Now, if you've got a cheap bottle of sparkling wine you've bought to spray on your teammates after a World Series win or something, then by all means, shake that sucker up, and let that cork rip. But if you're serving a beautiful bottle over the holidays, the soft pop is for you.

Here's how: 

  1. Start with a bottle chilled to about 45 degrees F.
  2. Remove the foil but not the wire cage over the cork. Just loosen it, and use it to grip the cork.
  3. Keep your thumb securely over the cork to keep it from shooting off.
  4. Start twisting the bottle from the bottom slowly, and let some bubbles slowly release from the cork.
  5. Once most of the pressure is off the cork, use your thumb and forefinger to twist off the cork at the end.

True, you may miss that festive "pop!" sound, but the taste and no waste make up for it.

Here's a great example of a "soft pop" Champagne bottle opening. This chef puts the bottom of the bottle toward his body, which seems like it might mess up your outfit or look weird if you're hosting a party. You can also just keep the bottom of the bottle secure in your hand. Check it out. Cheers!

More: Champagne cocktail recipes

Pin this so you'll remember for your next party!

The way you pop that cork can make a world of difference in how your bubbly tastes
Image: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images, Graphic: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows
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