Sabering! Ah the ego…..

I am out here in Portland for the Wine Bloggers Conference and will be posting about that soon. In the interim, I thought I would share a couple of videos that my wife shot with her iPhone last weekend  I have mentioned before my fondness for sabering champagne or sparking wine. For those of you that don’t know what that is, traditionally you use a saber (either a really big knife or a smallish sword–depending on your outlook on life) to remove the cork (and the top part of the neck) of the bottle. It is a rather cool spectacle (this often ends in losing a bit of the wine–which is why I generally do this with the cheap stuff).

Here are a few videos (there are a ton on YouTube, by the way, on how to saber a bottle).

Notice the cufflinks (nice touch) and the bracelet (nice touch if you were going for ‘cheesy’):

This one just made me laugh:

Here is one of a French guy doing it out the window, right next to the Arc de Triomphe where there are usually thousands of tourists. Once again proving the French have absolutely no regard for anybody’s safety:

Being the Champagne dork guy that I am, I always wanted a saber to perform this ritual at home. That never happened for several reasons, the primary reason being that I thought having a huge knife/small sword around the house would eventually end in disaster and we would have to change the names of our sons to Cain and Abel. That would probably void my candidacy for father of the year and no one wants that. Second, I really don’t like knives of any sort, especially big ones. Third, I do not particularly like swords even if they are rather smallish. Thus, no saber.

A couple of years ago, I went to the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) and had a moment that would change my life forever. I was at a party connected to the event and they had a saber! I realized that I was not all that afraid of it (not the moment yet) and, after a bit of coaching, I used it to open a bottle. Now, this could have served as the moment, certainly. For years I had been wanting to saber a bottle.

Well, check. (What’s next on the list?)

Nope, the moment happened shortly after that when a guy sabered a bottle with a champagne flute. I was astounded. Really. So naturally, I had to try it myself. I looked around for another bottle to saber. Problem. It seemed that after my own sabering epiphany, I commenced on a sabering frenzy, wielding that small sword (I had made the mind shift after the first bottle) like a medieval knight, sabering every bottle of sparkling wine I could find. I lopped the top off of about 27 bottles, so I have been told. The champagne flute guy had managed to sequester one bottle from my massacre for his own little sacrifice and now the party, as far as I was concerned, was over.

When I returned home, the first thing I wanted to do was to saber a bottle of sparkling wine with a wine glass (after all, I had no fear of those and had plenty around the house–yes, that might also be evidence for the permanent removal of my name from the father of the year ballot, but stay focused here). The problem was I never was really trained on using the wine glass for this purpose. I have shared this video before, but here is again my first ever attempt:

Since then I have been sabering bottles right and left (not right and left handed, just meaning ‘all over the place’–stay focused), and I am now at the point where it only takes one real swipe (not the 36 or so above) to get the job done. Problem.

The other day, I started thinking about how easy it actually was to saber a bottle and began thinking about what I would use next to amaze and astound people (yes, I thought I was a sort of a ‘sabering David Copperfield‘ if you must know). I contemplated several options, but my first attempt was with a quarter. Yes, a coin worth 25 cents:

Clearly that did not work. Why did I think it ever would?

Because I’m an idiot.

I thought that being the ‘sabering David Copperfield’ I could do no wrong. In order to ‘get back on the horse again’ I scrambled (we were at our friends house in the ‘burbs) and found a wine glass:

Even though that did not go swimmingly, it is still a much better effort than the initial attempt a couple of years ago  Maybe I have the talent to become the ‘sabering David Copperfield’ after all!  Hey son, grab the video camera and give me your, um, I don’t know, ruler….

About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Champagne, Travel, Wine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Sabering! Ah the ego…..

  1. talkavino says:

    I like your persistence! I’m actually glad the quarter didn’t work – but only for the reason that I think it is too dangerous and you might end up with cut fingers – that broken glass on top might have super-sharp edges.

    I think glass works almost ideal – or at least I like using it very much 🙂


    • The ‘funny’ thing is that I was sabering right and left at WBC12. When trying to saber a domestic sparkler, I broke not one but two glasses in the attempt. That has NEVER happened before. On one of them I also succeeded in slicing my finger a bit. Not bad at all, but I do not like blood.


  2. That boyish joy in your eyes when that bottle first popped while using the champagne flute is awesome and speaks volumes. I am not a champagne or cremant guy, but now I want to try this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    The quarter video was riveting as I was on the edge of my chair the entire time. 😉 … I’ve never seen using a glass like that … well done. And enjoy the difficult time at the Wine Bloggers Conference.


  4. There’s one on youtube of a guy sabering a bottle of champagne with an iPad; there’s some courage!


  5. Reblogged this on the drunken cyclist and commented:

    The Wine Bloggers Conference is but a few short weeks away, and so for this “Throwback Thursday” I thought I would re-blog this post on sabering from a couple of years ago. “How are #WBC14 and sabering connected?” you might ask. Well, when I attended #WBC12 a couple of years ago in Portland, I found my way to a party hosted by the kind people of Jordan Vineyard and Winery. There happened to be quite a bit of J sparkling wine there as well, and I proceeded to saber most of the remaining bottles. With a champagne flute. I still get emails and tweets bout that night (one from Jean-Charles Boisset who was there).
    A week or so I received an invite from the same kind people at Jordan, inviting me to this year’s party. I have no idea why they would do that after I sent countless glass encrusted corks careening over the balcony.

    Maybe they forgot.


  6. What I live most of all is that you’re doing this in bare feet. Dangers of broken glass be damned!

    Also, tell us how your car came to be dented on the right front fender…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The bare feet thing might not be all that bright–since that video was shot, I have sliced my finger open, much to the chagrin of my wife, who will no longer film my escapades.

      As for the car, we were sideswiped by the Secret Service when Bill Clinton came to town!

      Actually, it was not our car and I have no idea what happened.


  7. asueba says:

    A friend who is a winemaker in Maryland sabered with a Champagne glass on a Champagne bottle when I was invited to his house for dinner late last year. I remembered his Mom told him not to use her Riedel. LOL. But it worked brilliantly. Well Done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeff,
    A series of great videos, but alas for me, I think that I shall do it the old fashioned way, unless I get a saber. Oh what the hell, my Bride would never forgive me, she will make me buy screw cap sparkling wine from that point on. I shall live vicariously through your adventures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.