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The first rule about opening sparkling wine is never to point the bottle at anyone or at a window or mirror. The second rule is to keep a hand over the cork. This can be hard, with the wire cage to fiddle with, but the right technique ensures that the cork is under control at all times.

Warm sparkling wine is not only unappetizing, it is dangerous. Warm wine and gas have a greater volume and will explode with greater ferocity. The cork from a chilled bottle is far less likely to get out of control. So chill the bottle well first. And keep the bottle still: shaking stirs up the gas.

Use a clean cloth to lift the bottle from the ice bucket, if one is being used. Dry the bottle and tear off the foil capsule so that the wire cage is visible. You will note that the wire is twisted at the ends. Gently untwist this loop. The wire should still be round the flange at the neck of the bottle and thus holding the cork down, but from now on keep a thumb over the cap.

Once the wire is untwisted, hold tightly onto the cork with one hand and remove the wire with the other. Take the wire, and the metal cap, right off the cork. Keep a thumb over the cork.

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