Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Saber a Bottle of Crémant

Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of the very first bottle of Crémant de Luxembourg. But I’m not writing this post to tell you about that. You can read all about crémant and how it came to be such a success for the Luxembourg wine industry in my Luxemburger Wort article at this link.

Right now, I’m here to teach you the ultimate party trick. I’m going to tell you how to saber a bottle of crémant.

Before we begin, here’s the dirty little secret about sabering crémant: anyone can do it, with any bottle of sparkling wine, and you don’t even need a saber to be able to slice open the bottle.

Follow these ten simple steps and you’ll be savoring the results of your sabering in no time!

1. Find a saber.
If you don’t have a saber lying around your house, any large, sharp kitchen knife will do.

2. Remove the foil.
Completely remove the foil label that covers the neck of your sparkling wine bottle. You don’t want anything to get in the way of your saber.

3. Untwist the cage.
Untwist the wire cage that fits over the cork to keep it in place, but do not remove it from the bottle.

The cage, before untwisting.
4. Twist the cage back into place.
Move the cage up slightly so the bottom ring of the cage sits just below the lip of the bottle. Re-twist the cage back into place.

This part is really important. I can’t remember why, exactly, but I’m pretty sure it has to do with keeping the top glass part of the bottle intact with the cork once you slice the bottle open. Or maybe it keeps the bottle from shattering? Anyway – the point here is, make sure you’ve tightly re-twisted the cage back into place.

The cage after re-twisting.

5. Find the seam.
Run your finger around the top of the bottle neck and you should feel a seam from where the bottle was fused together. Sometimes the seam is prominent, but sometimes it will be very thin and difficult to find. The seam is going to be the line your knife follows in order to slice the top off of the bottle.

6. Move everyone and everything out of your way.
The top of your bubbly is going to fly when you slice it off, so make sure there’s nothing in front of your aim.

Also keep in mind that a little bit of the bubbly is going to spill out when you slice it open, so grab a towel and keep it nearby.

7. Grab the knife saber and get ready to slice!
Tilt the bottle forward at about a 45 degree angle. Lay your knife perpendicular to the bottle, and position the middle of the knife along the seam of the bottle.

8. Pop the top!
Hold the knife steady and take a deep breath. Double check to make sure there’s nothing in front of you.

Then, in one quick motion, slide your knife upward along the neck of the bottle. As soon as the sharp knife meets the weak point where the lower bottle neck is connected to the seam of the bottle, the top of your sparkling wine will pop off and fly forward at a powerful force!

9. Go find your souvenir.
Because you’ve done such a good job with re-twisting the cage on top of the cork, the top of your sparkling wine will have sliced off in one single piece. A pretty sweet souvenir from your evening, if you ask me!

10. Pour (carefully) and enjoy!
I’ve cut myself a few times already, so I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that the glass at the bottom of the caged cork piece and at the sliced-open mouth of your crémant will be very, very sharp. Please be careful when pouring and when disposing of the bottle later. I’d hate for you to slice your finger and lose the ability to type “Luxemblog.com” into your web browser!

So, there’s nothing left to say but: santé! Enjoy your bubbly and all the attention from everyone you’ll impress with your brand new sabering skills!


  1. I learned how to do this in a winery in Austria. There, they told me that your beloved is supposed to fill that top piece of glass with diamonds.

    The sabre trick used to be the only way to open bottles as before they used corks, the bottle was stoppered up with wood.

  2. Very interesting. Especially the part about the diamonds...I'm definitely going to let Nick know about that!

  3. Fun with taste and fun with the opening. haha love it.