I hereby publicly admit that I must have been drinking quite some champagne (refusing is impolite, right?) without much knowledge about it.
I was mainly lead by the brand whenever I was supposed to bring champagne to a dinner or party. Or brunch, or lunch, or birth, or baptême, or starting of the week, or ending of the weekend, or new years eve, or easter, or fathers day, or mothers day, or your cats birthday, or the arrival of spring, summer, autumn or winter* Actually, on any occasion the French will ask you to “apporter une bouteille”**
Here are some basics for appreciating those bubbles like a real connaisseur.
– Let’s be clear: real champagne comes from the region Champagne in France, so have a good look at the etiquette. If you see bubbles at the side of your glass, this means your champagne is not French (so you spit it out).
– Champagne is made with three types of grapes: Chardonnay which gives the more citrus, ginger fruity notes, Pinot Noir gives red fruit taste and Pinot Meunier which gives a more earthy touch. Close your eyes and taste, in the worst case this makes you look very sophisticated.
– The champagne should not be served too cold in order to be able to really appreciate its flavours. The ideal serving temperature is 8-10 °C (47-50°F) so don’t drink it right out of the fridge.
– Don’t swirl champagne, the opening of the bouquet of taste is taken care of by the bubbles.
– The French will offer you a “coupe”, this is just to confuse you even more. Even though it looks so glamorous, don’t serve champagne in wide coupes. The best glass to appreciate champagne is a tulip shaped glass, which enables bubbles to bubble and aroma’s to rise.
– Try to delegate the opening of the bottle as much as possible. If you are drinking alone, rotate the bottle not the cork and please don’t let the cork pop but slide out and poor immediately. Unless you have just won a F1 race.
– Hold the bottle by its base not the neck.
– Once it has been opened, there is no conservation method that will allow to preserve all the qualities of the champagne. Too bad, you will have to empty the bottle.
** Bring a bottle. Which does not mean just one bottle.
Text by Renée Koudstaal
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