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A Wine Club of the Highest Caliber

Joe Riley

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I found this pretty interesting:

The Sabre

Personally, when I'm serving champagne I like to use my 7mm with hollow tips. It makes for a much cleaner break.

100% true story! When I was beverage director at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, we did a dinner for the Chêne des Rôtisseurs based an all large format bottles of French wine. Our serving staff was all in White Tails with White Gloves (I went through 6 pairs of gloves just handling the decanting dutties on the wines!).

For the starter I obtained 2 or 3 12-liter bottles and we engaged a Master Sargent from the Marines to saber the bottles. He showed up in his perfect uniform wearing the ribbons and medals from his 20 plus year career in the Marines. I was selected to be the poor victim holding the neck steady as the Master Sargent did his thing. Without even seeing him pull the saber from its scabbard, the neck and cork of the bottle went flying.... right past the area we figured it would land and thru the open archway leading to the lobby atrium. The Sargent and I (and only the two of us!) had a perfect view as the cork arched in a perfect parabola and started its descent..... right towards a group of blue haired ladies who were part of a tour group staying at the Hotel (visiting Holly & Vine and Universal Studios prior to going off to Vegas). One poor lady was sitting in a chair with her back towards us and it was obvious that the rocket was heading in her direction. We winced as we saw the blue hair part figuring that the next instant we were going to see her brains splattered against the newly refurbished Spanish tile and white plaster wall.

But no.... the blue hair was piled high! Her hair parted as though it was ordered by Moses at the Red Sea! The neck went right thru it and hit the floor, breaking one of the aforementioned tiles. The lady, oblivious to how close to death she had come, patted her hair wondering, I am sure, what had caused the breeze. The Master Sargent leaned over and told me, cool as a cucumber and with no trace of emotion in his voice, "I think that cannon had more of a load than I expected!"

We caught sight of her hours later and you could still see the part in her hair do!

The next day the GM of the hotel was asking us how the floor tile got broken! I almost peed in my pants laughing as I told the story.

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