French Sabre à Champagne
This beautiful Sabre à Champagne has never been used and is therefore in mint condition, still in its original box. It is made by the famous knives makers of Thiers, located in Auvergne, central France. Historians date the beginning of Thiers’ fascination with blades around 1300 AD. For centuries afterwards, water-powered mills located on the banks of the Durolle provided the energy needed for the Smithies.
This Sabre has a length of 40cm and it weighs 699 grms. What a unique gift from France for the wine aficionado.
Sabrage is a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a saber, used for ceremonial occasions. The wielder slides the saber along the body seam of the bottle to the lip to break the top of the neck away, leaving the bottle ready to pour. The cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck. One does not use the sharp side of the blade. The technique became popular in France when the army of Napoleon visited many of the aristocratic domains. It was just after the French Revolution and the saber was the weapon of choice of Napoleon’s light cavalry (the Hussars). Napoleon’s spectacular victories across all Europe gave them plenty of reason to celebrate. During these parties the cavalry would open the champagne with their sabers. Napoleon, who was known to have said – “Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it” – may have encouraged this. There are many stories about this tradition. One of the more spirited tales is that of Madame Clicquot, who had inherited her husband’s small champagne house at the age of 27. She used to entertain Napoleon’s officers in her vineyard, and as they rode off in the early morning with their complimentary bottle of champagne, they would open it with their saber to impress the rich young widow