08/30/2021 Jaume Pujol, Abadia de Poblet winemaker
07/21/2022 Federico Oldenburg, journalist specializing in wines
September 7 2021
Opening a bottle of wine is a ritual. The product deserves it and surely the occasion does too. Wine accompanies you in celebrations and romantic dinners, and sometimes you resort to it for comfort. It is not a mere beverage, and as such, its uncorking should not be a simple routine act.
There are several types of corkscrew. However, in general, their differences are based mainly on our skills as sommeliers rather than on any other reason.
This is the most common corkscrew and probably the best, due to its price and simplicity. This is the corkscrew that waiters usually carry in their pockets. It is called a double lever corkscrew as the bottle is opened in two stages, using the double slot in the lever. As with any new tool, it can take practice to get it right and to stretch it. But once you get it right, you realize that it is really easy to use.
As a curiosity, this model was originally created by a company from the Basque Country. It is highly recommended for the uninitiated as it requires neither skill nor strength. All you have to do is insert the worm in the center of the cork and push the two wings downwards. It is also recommended for the most clumsy people.
This is the first corkscrew to be invented. It consists of a worm with a handle at the end. It is the corkscrew that requires the most strength and skill, as the cork has to be pierced and pulled tightly and carefully enough to avoid breaking it.
This is the only type of corkscrew that could be considered specific for a certain type of bottle. Although it is suitable for all types of wine, it is especially recommended for old bottles and those that are at risk of not having the cork in perfect condition. Why? Just because it does not pierce the cork. It has two parallel blades that are inserted through the sides of the cork to ensure that you remove it intact. This type of corkscrew is difficult to use, so it requires some strength, but above all, skills.
This corkscrew is very easy to use. However, this is not one of the favorites among wine lovers. To open a bottle of wine using it, you must introduce air into the bottle. This can damage the drink, as well as stirring up any possible lees it may have.
This is more sophisticated than the T-shaped corkscrew, but has a similar method of use. Instead of rotating the worm, you turn a crank handle that pushes it into the cork. It is very easy to use, but it also requires strength.
So now that you already know what kind of tool you can use for such a delicate task, here are some tips to ensure that opening your bottle of wine becomes a pleasurable tasting experience.
This is not about opening just any bottle, we are talking about a bottle of wine. The soul of its creators and the land from which it has emerged are inside. For this reason, it must be treated with care and affection. This is the perfect way to uncork a bottle of wine.
First of all, you must bear in mind that the bottle is not a merry-go-round: it cannot be turned, it must be still and resting on the table. If you turn it, pick it up and move it around, there is a risk of stirring up any lees it may have and the tasting will not be that pleasant.
If you want to live a complete wine experience, place the bottle with the label facing your guests, so that they can appreciate the wine you are going to offer them. You could even briefly explain the wine to them. This will make you look like a real expert.
Double lever corkscrews usually have a small blade that is used to remove the capsule. Draw a circumference around it at the neck (the slit below the neck ring) so that you can completely remove the capsule. Please note that both your hands and the blade have to rotate, not the wine.
You can carefully clean the neck and mouth of the bottle to ensure that no metal particles remain. This is the moment to use the corkscrew. Open the worm and carefully insert it through the center of the cork. Turn the corkscrew slowly but surely until you have inserted it far enough to be able to fit the first section of the lever into the mouth of the bottle.
It is important that you do not push the cork all the way through, as this could release crumbs that would fall directly into the wine.
Once the first notch is in place, lever out half of the cork. You may have to strain a little, but not too hard. When the first half of the cork has come out, use the second slot to do the same thing, insert it and lever the cork out again until the cork is completely out. It does not have to make a noise. In fact, it is more elegant if it does not make any noise at all.
Then again, clean the mouth of the bottle to remove any residue that may have been left behind. And now you are ready to enjoy.
It is recommended to smell and observe the cork. The cork can give you clues as to the condition of the wine. If it is particularly dirty and smells musty, for example, it is probably not in perfect conditions.
If how to open the bottle is important, so is the time before you open it.
Young reds, dry whites, sparkling or semi-sparkling wines should be opened at the moment of tasting. Other wines should be opened one hour beforehand so that they can be aerated. Even 3 or 4 hours in advance in the event of particularly powerful and full-bodied wines. Wine is almost like a living being. Young and energetic wines hardly need any rest, while the most serious and reserved wines need time to feel comfortable.
You already know everything you need to open a bottle of wine. All you need to do now is to choose the perfect bottle with which to put your knowledge into practice.