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this is the elaborated version of a post made on a knots-tyers forum, none of whom was able to propose a solution  !
I have to say to excuse them that they are almost all would-be "ornamental" tyers and so not what I would dare to call well versed in " real knots problems'.

a good bit  (in particular the hemp "muselet" bit) of the historical background I unashamedly plagiarized from the very good site of MAISONS-CHAMPAGNE  and from other resources on the Web.  

If you don't want the verbiage on the historic background (you will then die with
less not useless  but "without immediate use"  knowledge : we call it culture here
in "old civilized Europe") just go down to the bluish frame.

We were approaching "feasts" atthe moment the post was done (just before 2008 Nov 27th USA Thanksgiving)  :

I though then that it was a good moment to put up some PR for a special VIN DE
CHAMPAGNE  affectionately known as CHAMPAGNE

There are several wines made using : "méthode champenoise " or "méthode traditionelle" but by law only small parcels of vineyards in the TERROIR CHAMPAGNE ( eponymous naming for the wine ) can  boast the official label "Champagne" . ( A perfumer was brought to Justice and condemned to reparation for having called called his new product  by the name of Champagne).
Best Champagne(s) are the one having the label "Grand Cru" which is rate as being above the numerous "Premier Cru".
A bottle of Champagne before standing on your table has been the object of  many caresand  those specialized cares cost a lot of time and know-how.
Champagne is a premium quality product  *not to be confused* with any other sparkling wines of *any origin* be it from France or elsewhere on this planet.

We do "vins de terroirs" that is wines "attached" to a special "area of soil" while Australia, Swiss, USA and other make "vins de cépages" ( wine attached to a type of grapes ).

I have had the luck to drink outstanding Australian wines, so I am not being
 "The Frenchy".
I have fond memories of some outstanding Italian wines too.
( My preferred English "wine" is whisky coming from the beautiful patch of paradise
that The Isle of Skyes is.)

Method for putting the cork stopper is the same for Champagne, Crémant ( a whole lot
of them : ALSACE - BORDEAUX - BOURGOGNE ( maternal lineage is from there)  - CHAMPAGNE - DIE - JURA - LIMOUX - LOIRE ), Saumur, Vouvray, Montlouis.....
and in memory of my Mother who was very fond of it : Vin mousseux du BUGEY .

France have a whole lot of sparkling wine but none has the international reputation

All those sparkling wines are Blanc/white or Rosé/ pink and one is rouge / red (a sparkling Bourgogne / Burgundy)

(even for " cidre bouché ", high quality sparkling cider : have seen some bottles of
' cidre bouché ' exploding too, but with a bit less force than Champagne ).
Cider from Normandy it will be for me if you please ( paternal lineage comes from there), Brittany  do cider too and I have been known to drink it !

Stopper is maintained by a wire cage called a "muselet" (just like a muselière ( muzzle strap used to prevent a dog from biting ), preventing the cork stopper ejection under gases pressure (5 to 6 kg per square centimetre )

Do you know that in the 17th Century the Champagne was know as
and that it took a monk to tame it.

Reason was it was quite apt at making bottles explode, disfiguring and even killing...
(seems they had to have a metal mask as old knights had when going in the caves ) till the time DOM PERIGNON (a DOMinican monk)  made use of the thick wall bottle invented by, of all nations ! an English glass blower. (do you know that there were vineyards in UK once ?)

Well it was not the first meddling of our "best enemy" in our Champagne de France as
it was at the English consumers insistence that Champagne "BRUT" was created in
Usual at the time was dry ( "sec")  and  medium dry  ("demi-sec").

"Millésime", or putting the "year" as a special marking, was created for Champagne
only in 1906.
So don't make the blunder to speak of a pre-1906 millésime in Champagne.

Champagne was definitely crowned "the special occasion wine" in 1654 (June 7th) at
The future Sun King (Louis XIV ), coronation as king of France.

Paradoxically it was also the wine that the French Revolutionaries deemed "adequate"
for them on 1790 July 14th celebrations (first anniversary of the taking of  La Bastille)

First stopper for wine bottles were "hemp" tangles, oiled .
(hence the old tradition - how the human brain can run in ruts with ease ! -
of always putting the first drops of a bottle in the Master of the House's glass :
he gets the drop of oil )

This hemp stopper was replaced by a peg of wood with oiled rags around it
(as we still do for "tonneau" / "cask of wine).

At that time Champagne (but it could not keep its sparkling character very long) ,
bottles were stopped by a wood peg in a piece of flax LINen (a pleonasm for a French
as flax = lin ) sealed with wax.
Dom Pérignon made a "lasting sparkle" possible.

To keep the stopper in place while fermentation was happening it was tied
(hand tied
till the middle of 19th) with a piece of hemp twine ( 2-strand ).

But hemp was attacked by mould and the stopper ejected in time so they get in the habit of adding a piece of wire but that posed problems at the opening !

To "keep" the wine in an unaltered condition Dom Pérignon went from hemp stopper to cork stopper tied with oiled hemp twine.

Legend has it that it was by observing how the Saint Jacques de Compostelle
scallop shell guy) monks closed their gourds that he got the idea.

Despite Dom Pérignon efforts to discover the fullness of the secret of a perfectly
reproducible fermentation the world had to wait the great PASTEUR discoveries to
fully understand this fermentation process.

In 1735 a Royal Edict made the hemp twine tying compulsory : the first regulation
of the "stopper", of the way corks have to obey very stringent specifications not for whim but from technical considerations

The Champagne cork stopper is conical (other wine's are cylindrical) and with a very
special construction.
Each parts of this stopper has a special name.
Mainly it is in two parts:
-- the "head" / "la tête" ( sometimes call "the handle" / "le manche")  is in a lesser
quality of cork as it is not in direct contact with the wine.
-- "the body" / "le corps" which is made of two roundel a "bulk cork" of the finest grade.

Cork used at the beginning of the practice was twice in diameter what the opening in
the bottle neck was and it had to be (literally) "clobbered inside" with a "batte" what
would be now likened to a baseball bat (same pronunciation as "batte").

Latter the small metal round cover was added on the cork.
The brevet for this metal cover was taken in 1844, in 1850 it was the wire metal
that appeared and by 1881 it was general practice for Champagne.

Last minute addition 2008 December 1rst :
Last issue (December N°1095) of SCIENCES & VIE monthly magazine in page
110-112 answers the question "why bubbles appear in Champagne?"

Of course there is a question of pressure and CO2 content ( 5 litres of CO2 are in
solution in a 3/4 litre bottle of Champagne under a pressure of 6 bars.
When the bottle is opened pressure inside goes suddenly from 6 to 1 bar
(the atmospheric pressure).This really brutal phase transition makes 80% of the gases
go in the atmosphere, the remaining 20% stay in the liquid , ready to make bubbles
IFF (if and only if) the parameters are right for them to become free and appear as
visible bubbles.

Paradoxically an ultra-clean glass absolutely devoid  of any particle on its surface will
not give rise to bubbles.

Bubbles will appear ONLY IF THE GLASS IS ""DIRTY"" :
small foreign particles of irregular shape on its surface ( lint fibre, chalk... ) are
They will start the "bubbles elevator".

When poured in the glass the liquid cannot get in all the microscopic nooks and
crannies in the foreign particles in which remain ultra-small bubble of trapped
atmospheric air.
there the CO2 will find a way out to go not ballistic but sparkling.

The CO2 goes in the "air bubble seed" and makes it grow till it is big enough to
detach itself from the foreign particle.
Under Archimedean push the bubble ascend and when it ascend, pressure lessen
and volume of bubble grow (simple problem well know by scuba divers)

From a micrometer they go to millimetre size and up and up and up they go till
they are at the surface. There the surface tension is not enough to maintain the
integrity of the bubble which then burst liberating aromas.

A perfectly clean glass in a sterile atmosphere will keep the best Champagne as
tranquil as any still white wine.
So one conclusion :
avoid the washing-machine and prefer to hand wash and hand dry with linen your
Champagne glasses (please, please, please no open coupe / cup - they are too
shallow and too open - which are heretical in my opinion, but a nice elegant "flûte"
- often too narrow for real appreciation of  aromas - or best, [even if some will raise
an eyebrow just like when seeing me tasting a  goat cheese with a white wine instead of with
a classical red ; just try it - one good and safe rule that always worked for me : "you may mix
any product of a terroir with the wines coming from that same terroir ! " ]
a crystal white wine glass, Champagne IS white wine you know ) end of addition

Hope all this was not served too much in disarray.

Now for the quiz itself :

nowadays the "muselet" is made with wire but when it was first though of it was
an oiled hemp muselet and a knot was needed, that till the middle of 19th .
(note : a 1993 prestigious "cuvée" had the distinct mark of having a hemp twine
muselet ; seems that some recent others had that too )

HOW WILL YOU proceed to put an oiled hemp muselet on a bottle all the while
complying with two constraints :

-- it must stay in place and maintained the cork stopper which is pushed out by
gases pressure

-- it must be "economically efficient" : speedily put in place and using the minimal
length of twine ?

 Show off with "sparkling knowledge" 

The solution given here is in my opinion faulty as its seems to me impossible to
go from fig 3 to fig 4.
(note : mistakes in artist representation of knotting are a constant in knots books since
the first one was published so don't be too prompt to be mocking

Thanks to Maison du Champagne for a venial mistake (that no one has spotted before I did despite 50 000 visitors per month ! a stupendous score)  that was the occasion for me of much pleasure in putting a new topic in my pages, and I hope for you readers with the chase it send you onto.

So here is my interpretation of it.

A small image is available for download.

Solution is an adaptation of a well known hitch.

ADDED 2008 December 08th :
seems that this knot is highly difficult ! ;-) :
even with my illustration their illustrator failed at making a correct illustration

Doing it like that
would have been better IMO.

Must be a tradition with illustrators and publication of knots diagrams : from the
first publication illustrators sabotaged the crossings !

The worst point (not in this particular case that is just an illustration of the general) is that no one ever (and anywhere) seems to be in charge of proofing knots diagrams by making the said knots  "in the cordage" !

This is not rocket science , yet .....

Less than 24h after having been advised they put this rectified illustration on line.
An hitch is what I call a "null knot" :  a knot that will disappear into the simple length
of cordage it was made of if you take off its "prop".

This particular hitch is made "solid" by putting the marlinespike in "almost" the same plane as the whole of the cordage.
On a 2D drawing the marlinespike is on the same plane as the cordage and the spike goes O1 U1 O1 or U1 O1 U1 if you see it on the other side.
The neck of the bottle goes U1 O2 ( or O1 U2 if you see it on the other side )

Here the bottle neck is perpendicular to the plane of the cordage that has been folded
along the middle part of cordage and only one "hole" is used to pass the bottle neck
through while the marlinspike goes through the two "holes".

I think that the faulty illustration is trying to illustrate an "otherwise" used marlinspike, and that is quite a surprise as this was from landlubbers dwelling many hundreds miles from any coast.

To my mind this lend credence to the legend that it was coming from the way people on the Saint Jacques de Compostelle trail pelerinage (English language available in this link) closed their gourds as Compostelle, the end of all the European trailS, is very near the sea.(use only if links are broken : map of the trails ) before last point : it can easily be diverted to a "jug sling"

Onelast point just for the fun of it t : it could have been worse as method for "closing a bottle" (look also on with "don't break the bottle" in the search field )
Use only if link to  "Don't break the bottle" items  is broken.
Use this as idea for a princely gift : A bottle of CHAMPAGNE DE FRANCE
in one of those "chastity belt" for bottles.


Copyright 2005 Sept - Charles Hamel / Nautile -
Overall rewriting in August 2006 . Copyright renewed. 2007-2014 -(each year of existence)

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