What is Sabrage?

Sabrage, the ceremonial act of opening a bottle of bubbly using a sabre (sword) makes a sweepingly dramatic impression.

The story goes that sabrage was first popularised after the French Revolution in the early 19th century by Napoleon’s light cavalry, the Hussars. Celebrating the emperor’s many military victories, the soldiers were said to use their sabres to open bottles of champagne. Another version tells of the Hussars using the technique to impress the wealthy young Widow (Veuve in French) Cliquot.

How to Sabrage?

Whatever the actual origin, this spectacular act involves sliding the sword along the vertical seam of the bottle to reach the neck and then striking it open with the blunt edge. The idea is to separate the cork and collar from the bottle, creating an opening from which to pour. 

If ever you have occasion to watch how it’s done, you will notice that the bottle is tilted at an angle of around 20°, before opening. Usually, a small amount of bubbly will be left to flow from the bottle, taking any potential glass shards with it before serving guests. 

Sabres for Sabrage

Nowadays, you can buy sabres made for sabrage, but it’s advisable to watch a few how-to videos before you try yourself! Make sure your bottle is very well chilled before you begin. And always use the blunt edge to strike.  

Sabrage Cap Classique

Or you can use the regular way to open the best in Cap Classique when you choose the acclaimed 2015 Pongracz Desiderius. The traditionally made sparkling wine garnered 90 points at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards. It also took gold at the 2022 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards.  Rich, nutty and crisply dry on the palate, it boasts an impeccably fine mousse. 

Not sure of everyone’s palate preferences? Then why not try a Pongracz mixed case with dry, off-dry and fruity options?  Pay for 5, but receive 6: 

1 x complimentary Pongracz Nectar Rosé Light 
2 x Pongracz Blanc de Blanc
1 x Pongracz Noble Nectar Demi Sec
2 x Pongracz Rosé MCC (i.e. Cap Classique)

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