The Ultimate Vancouver Wine Guide: Can We Please Stop Sabring Wine?

For me, sabring combines two cardinal sins: waste and being a show-off.

February 27, 2019

By Neal McLennan / Photo: Kelly Sutherland

Did you hear about the new trend sweeping the quaint villages of Burgundy? People are using their shoes to dislodge the corks in lovely bottles of pinot.

Actually, you probably didn’t hear it because it’s thankfully not true, but is the above all that different from the legions of people who feel compelled to reach for a hard, straight edge every time a bottle of Champagne is in the vicinity? Yes, I know it has history on its side, but knowing that little creep Napoleon did it doesn’t make it any better. There are quite a few practices that I think we’ve quite rightly left in the 1800s.

For me, sabring combines two cardinal sins: waste and being a show-off. True, a talented sommelier can minimize the waste part, but you still need a small flow to be poured out to clear the glass shards. And the show-off part, has anyone ever found a quiet corner of a room to silently sabre a bottle just for themselves? Exactly.

Great sparkling wine is already an occasion. Doubling down on its festivity doesn’t make it twice as funit makes it garish.

So the next time you find yourself reaching for a stellar bottle of bubbly—perhaps one of the local ones below—please have a little respect and open it properly sans sabre.

5 Local Bottles That Deserve to be Opened…Respectfully

Blue Mountain 2010 R.D., $40

Blue Mountain has made great sparkling for so long that we take them for granted, but this here is $40 for beautiful bubbles aged eight years for your toasty drinking pleasure.

Fitz Brut 2015, $33

The Fitzpatrick family are all in on classically made, classically proportioned Champagne-style bubbles that can stand up to all sorts of yellow labels.

Blasted Church OMG 2012, $27

Blasted Church is a large-market brand, but its bubbles are made with real care and use classic pinot noir and chardonnay joined by a zip of pinot blanc, all mellowed by some lovely bottle age.

Free Form Ancient Method 2017, $35

One-hundred-percent organic pinot noir grapes, made with minimal intervention and zero added dosage—the future of Okanagan sparkling may rest in this bottle.

 

 

Blue Grouse Paula 2014, $31

Just your usual blend of Müller-Thurgau, ortega and pinot auxerrois gives a lovely floral nose without any cloying sweetness. Sells out quickly.

We’ll be adding to our Ultimate Vancouver Wine Guide over the next few months… follow along with somms’ top picks here!

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