What is a Muselet?
18th February 2014
A Muselet is the wire cage that fits over the cork of a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine to prevent the cork from emerging under the pressure of the carbonated contents.
Bottles were initially corked with pieces of wood with oil-sponged cloth, and then plunged in wax. They discovered very quickly that it was not sufficient to sustain the pressure of the wine and avoid the bottles to leak. They moved on to using corks with cords.
In 1844 Adolphe Jaqueson invented the more secure method involving steel wire, however the early muselets were not easy to install and proved difficult to open.
Further developments led to the modern muselet which is made of steel wire twisted to add strength and with a small loop of wire twisted into the lower ring which can be untwisted to release the pressure of the muselet and give access to the cork.
The muselet often has a metal cap incorporated in the design which is a great marketing tool usually having the house or labels’ name and design on. Champagne Pol Roger was the first to have a uniquely designed cap in 1906.
Collecting the caps of Champagne and other sparkling wine is called Placomusophilia.
When opening a bottle always keep your thumb on the cork when you remove the muselet, it should take six counter clockwise twists to undo.
According to experts, if you can remove the wire in five and a half twists, you are about to open a top quality bottle.
Glass of Bubbly
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