A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY TO A GREAT DEAL OF FUN !
Two hundred years ago, stylish young cavalry officers in the French Army would slice the cork off the Champagne bottle with their sabre, rather than put themselves to the effort of easing the cork out by hand. Yes, it's true. Napoleon, who is known to have said, "Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it", may have encouraged this.
There may no longer be dashing dragoons, happy hussars, or lascivious lancers to sabrage the bottle, but the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or has continued the proud tradition. One of the objectives is to recruit Caveaux de Sabrage where one can celebrate this great wine by chopping the top off the bottle and consuming the contents. Each Caveau has a Maître to show you how to do it and a growing membership of Sabreurs who, having performed the task successfully, can be invested as Chevalier-Sabreurs.
The organisation was officially established in France in November 1986 by Jean-Claude Jalloux (the Grand Maître, leader of Le Grand Conseil). But, as mentioned above, the actual tradition of Sabrage dates back to Napoleonic days (the Regency period here in Great Britain). Although the custom continued for some time in British Cavalry Regiments, it is now encouraged across the world by a society of like-minded Sabreurs - the Confrérie du Sabre d'Or.
First set up in the United Kingdom in 1999 by UK Ambassadeur Emeritus, Julian White, the "Brotherhood of the Sword of Gold" has a serious purpose in promoting the enjoyment of Champagne and the lifestyle of fine wining and dining. Opening a bottle with a sabre adds drama to the occasion and the associated fun makes it all the more memorable. It is expected that all Sabreurs pass on this message to Champagne lovers throughout the world!
Seen here below, first on ITV with the irrepressible Gino and then in video the quite fabulous Alton Brown!