Thursday, June 01, 2023
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Champagne Sabrage - Kiss of the Butterknife

Wine Industry

Opening a bottle of Champagne with a saber can have a fairly invigorating and dramatic effect.

It's important to have the bottle quite cold. The person opening the bottle removes the foil and wire cage around the cork, holds the bottle around the base at a 30-45 degree angle, aims for the spot on the bottleneck where the vertical seam meets the lower glass lip (where the cork is), slides the saber (flat) along the body of the bottle (along the seam) towards the end of the neck. Be certain to angle the bottle away from people, food, or anything breakable, as the top will sever and head for the hills. The force of the saber hitting the bottle lip severs the glass, separating the collar from the neck of the bottle. After shooting off, the cork and collar hopefully remain together after the bottle is opened. It should sever a nice, clean, break in the glass (be aware of the possibility of the bottle shattering! Champagne sabering is dangerous and requires attention). The strength of an actual Champagne Saber or the back edge of a heavy chef's knife makes it easier, but obviously as this short footage of Karen Blackburn and Kevin Pike shows, a fork or a butterknife sometimes work, too.

Read more: Champagne Sabrage - Kiss of the Butterknife


The Austin Wine Market

Wine Industry

The Austin wine market has been traveling through an identity crisis for the past few years. 

The city's RISK retail game is played by Twin Liquors, Spec's, Costco, Central Market / HEB, World Market, and Whole Foods Market. The game of "big producers", "big scores", and/or "control brands" has pushed our previously wine-willing city to not think for itself, appearing much more like Dallas or Houston than Austin's remote past willingness to try  wines that didn't all taste the same (ie: bland, uniform, over-priced bulk/plonk) wines. I hear Kraftwerk in the background, "We are Zee Robots"...Even Wall-E wanted something different.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being able to find wine-jewels at Costco at a fraction of what I would pay somewhere else. My issue is that the fine-wine market has become a market of nothing. More and more, the treats that you can find in other metropolitan cities are not found here. And, as a wine community, we don’t even see this happening! I realize this is a trend everywhere, but it is hitting hard in Austin. I enjoy shopping online, but I miss being able to shop my local shop and discover epiphanies with my specialty wineguy…The wine knowledge and passion levels seem to be less and less at your average retailer. All you need is a buyer at the top who strictly finds high margin /over-priced bulk wine for unsuspecting customers or reads scores textbooks. Then, you only hire staff that will work for little to no money and won't "pollute" the work environment with opinions or passion.Why don't we fire those people and install vending machines? Red, white, or pink? Reading Craig Camp's (Wine Camp Blog) reference to "sedated bystander" hits home. Let's just eat at McDonald's and eat the same thing every day. We can all wear gorilla suits with melted man masks.

Read more: The Austin Wine Market


SYAN with Mark Summerfield

Wine Industry

Having travelled through the Australian wine doldrums for the past couple of years, I was thrilled that Mark Summerfield could enlighten and ignite. These wines are brilliant! This is what it’s all about! Kicking the blas to the curb. The ‘Summerfield’ winemaker is continuing his trek to make beautifully addictive liquid jewels. You need these in your life!!! Definitely “Best-of-Breed” of what’s arriving Stateside from down under.

The soil with the roots of my love of wine…

In order preference.

1. ‘03 Syan Cab/Shiraz Rsv $47 A+ +7 **** 051807

2. ‘03 Syan Blend Tradition $27 A+ +17 ****

3. ‘03 Syan Shiraz Rsv $47 A+ +2 ***

4. ‘04 Syan Shiraz $27 A+ +15 ***

5. ‘04 Syan Cab Sauv $27 A +7 ***

Syan / Summerfield Wines summerfield.jpg


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