We first heard about it in April
but now we can take a look at the new system for opening Champagne. The Maestro opening system, developed by Alcan Packaging Capsules,
looks similar to a regular champagne top but there is one big difference, a large lever on the side. Champagne house Duval-Leroy is the first to use the new closure, putting it on their cuvee Clos des Bouveries Vintage 2004. To open the bottle you simply lift up the lever (a video is after the jump). The closure does make a soft popping noise and is, if less elegant, certainly faster. The process is more like opening a can of soda than opening a wine bottle.
The new closure has similar benefits to the screwcap on still wine, the main selling point being that it eliminates cork taint
. Prevention of the dreaded TCA has made the screwcap a favorite of wine producers and the public has caught on to the fact that a screwtop doesn't mean that the wine is cheap or of poor quality. I haven't seen it in person yet but there is something appealing about the lever that I believe lends itself to graceful pouring. I think this closure may catch on.