Do you really know how to appreciate champagne?

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.

* I would like to thank the copywriter of who has set up a list of excuses – uhm, I mean occasions – to drink champagne. Merci beaucoup!

** Bring a bottle. Which does not mean just one bottle.

Text by Renée Koudstaal

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Comments 4

  1. Jeroen Meijer says on 20th October 2017

    Nice article, just 1 comment,
    You are allowed to make Champagne from 8 grapes (les huits),

  2. renee says on 20th October 2017

    Jeroen, thanks for this feedback, great to talk to an expert ! I am very curious to know more about number 8.
    I know about the, by law of 1922 allowed, 7 grapes (cépages): Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay ( these 3 being most dominating) but also
    Petit Meslier, Arbanne, Pinot gris ( Fromenteau) and Pinot Blanc… Can you share the mysterious number 8 with us ? x Renée

  3. Jeroen says on 21st October 2017

    Number 8 is gamay noir a jus blanc. It is only allowed in cotes de bar (Aube). And to able to use it in Champagne there are strict rules. The grapes must be planted before 1948 and the farmer can not be older then 60 at that time. So gamay can still be used but chances that tou really find Gamay in Champagne are not big. Off couse you find it in Cremant Which tastes not bad, but nothing beats Champagne.
    Well… Maybe Franciacorta but Thats just my humble opinion.
    regards Jeroen

  4. renee says on 22nd October 2017

    wow! thanks so much for sharing! i guess this exception has been “voted” for one specific influent person 🙂 take care!

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