Friday, June 25, 2010

The Art of Sabrage

Have you ever seen anyone saber a bottle of Champagne before (it's the noble art of sabrage to you Francophiles out there)? In person? Me neither. That was the WOWW moment at a food and wine event I attended last week at Bouley to help launch a new DVD series called The Everyday Guide to Wine. Towards the end of the night our host, Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, grabbed a jeroboam of Champagne and her trusty saber, and in one fell swoop sliced off the top of the bottle. It was pretty rad. Why don't I have a trusty saber??? Probably because sabering a bottle of Champagne can be really dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. By the way, a jeroboam is a 3 liter bottle of Champagne (aka a Double Magnum) or in layman's terms, a bottle containing the equivalent of 4 standard sized bottles of bubbly. In other words, it's a big ass bottle. Wait a second. Now that I think about it, we never actually drank from that giant bottle. Where did it go?!? Did the staff drink it? Maybe there wasn't actually anything in it. Hmmm...


Anyhoo, The Teaching Company recently published this new educational DVD, a series of 24 half-hour lectures about wine, one of hundreds of courses available through The Great Courses. Looking through the syllabus, it's not unlike how my WSET advanced certification class at the International Wine Center was structured, but without the anxiety of a final exam or the price tag of a 16 week course. And you can go at your own pace, inviting friends over to "study" together.

The Teaching Company put on a great event at Bouley where, aside from the sabrage, we were treated to a four course food and wine tasting. I had never been to Bouley before so when I walked in, the vaulted ceilings made me feel like I was in a wine cave. It was the perfect venue.

The Cave aka Bouley.

The tasting evolved in typical fashion from light to full bodied wines, a Sauvignon Blanc to a Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with complimentary foods. You can see from the menu below what we tasted, in addition to roasted Long Island duckling with spring garlic and almond broth which was paired with the Pinot Noir, and a 2007 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon which was paired with a dry aged prime beef, glazed bone marrow, and red wine sweet onions (both dishes cut off from my menu photo). Delish. Everything was delish.

The tasting least part of it.

Last bite of the skate. The fish, not the winter sporting good.

I'll never be able to cook like David Bouley or be a super taster like Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, but I'm pretty confident that I could put together a decent meal with complimentary wines. At least I'm pretty sure my buds wouldn't say no if I invited them over for food and drink. And with The Everyday Guide to Wine I'll have a great point of reference for my future wine endeavors. But only wine endeavors that don't include a saber. For that I'll just have to stick to DVDs of Star Wars and light sabers.

Red red wiiiiiiine. Thank you, UB40. That song will never leave my head.


WendyB said...

My friend Dave DJ'd a big-name wedding where the groom decided to saber a bottle of Champagne and ended up in the hospital!

Carameliza said...

what I want to know is who funds the practice of Sabering. How do get good at it? I suspect tiny shards of glass in every coup! you mentioned they didnt serve it, but now I want to buy you a saber.

Tina said...

OMG Wendy! That's awful!

Apparently the key is sabering a very cold bottle of champs. If not at the right temperature, the pressure in the bottle could force it to explode upon impact, thus sending shards of glass everywhere, including the person holding the saber. When done correctly, the pressure forces any potential glass shards out of the bottle, rendering it safe to drink.

And Liza, I have no idea where one studies to become a master of sabrage!

stef m said...

a light saber to open a bottle -- that's what i'd like to see...