Pro Tips For Drinking Champagne

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.18.14 AM

Champagne is not just a drink of celebration. The sparkling sensation is appropriate for any occasion. So whether you’re going to be serving it at your Christmas dinner, partaking in it at your annual New Year’s Eve party, or simply enjoying it with friends on a quiet evening, Vinfolio has champagne to offer for every occasion. We’re also here to help guide you through the proper etiquette to store, open, consume, and enjoy the bubbly. 

MENTIONED IN THIS POST:

 Store It Cool, Serve It Cooler

First off, as with all fine wine, it’s important to handle your champagne correctly before you ever open the bottle. Champagne should be stored between 50 to 55 degrees in a humid environment. The bottle should be placed on its side to prevent the cork from drying out and ruining the champagne. When it comes to serving champagne, people often serve it much too cold, ruining the bubbles and leaving you with less aroma. Champagne is ideally served between 44 to 48 degrees., leaving you with abundant scents and flavors.

Don’t Pop It!

Popping the cork is always a dramatic and fun way to open a bottle of champagne. Of course, always be careful as to where you’re aiming when you do this. The issue with opening this way though is that it can get messy and you can lose a lot of the champagne and be left with a sticky floor. The best way to open a bottle is as follows: set it on a surface, remove the foil covering, untwist and remove the metal cage wire, keep a hand over the cork so it doesn’t unexpectedly fly off and potentially hurt someone, twist the bottle not the cork, and wait until you hear the sigh of the cork releasing from the bottle. By using this method, you will avoid loss of bubbles, champagne, (maybe a little fun), and gain a better tasting experience. After the bubbly has been opened, store it in a metal bucket with half ice and half water. This will keep it at the cool serving temperature.

The Classic Mistake

Once the bottle has been opened and ready to serve, we advise to not pour it into the traditional flute glass. They make the champagne look nice, but these glasses cause for less aroma. The coupe glasses also create problems for the champagne, as the large width of the glass causes the bubbles to disappear too fast and once again you’re left with less aroma. The best glass for serving champagne would be one with a tulip shape. It expands in the middle of the glass and has a smaller width at the top. It is the glass that produces the most bubbles, fine scents on the nose, and crisp, refreshing flavors.

Set It, Don’t Swirl It

Swirling your champagne is an easy way to let your friends know you are an inexperienced champagne drinker – so don’t do it. You may want to do it out of habit from swirling wine, but sparkling wine is different. Swirling causes the bubbles to release and you will be left with a flat champagne. After pouring the champagne slowly down the side of the glass and not creating too much foam, let it sit for a few minutes. Test it on the nose and sip for taste, but no swirling.

Pair It Like a Pro

You may have wondered, when is the best time to serve champagne? Before, during, or after dinner? Although it is mostly based on preference, we can suggest that perhaps you serve it before or during dinner, but not with dessert. The sweetness of a dessert and champagne combined can ruin the flavors of the sparkling wine and create a poor experience. If serving before dinner, champagne pairs wonderfully with cheeses and other salty appetizers. It is always delicious during dinner as well, as it does go well with meat, seafood, creamy pasta dishes, etc. The acidity cuts into the fattiness of the foods, creating a fantastic balance.

Unlikely Leftovers

So you’re dinner party is over and midnight has come and gone on New Year’s Eve, but you still have half a bottle of champagne leftover. Can you store it? Yes! But only for a few days to a week. Simply purchase a bottle stopper for it and you keep the bottle in the fridge. The champagne can stay good for a while, but of course the less time it spends chilled and half-full, the better.

 Let Us Help

If you need suggestions when deciding which champagnes you want for the holidays, check out Vinfolio’s Holiday Champagne Guide. Whether you need something now, or by Christmas, or if there is no rush, we have some of the most exquisite champagnes available to browse and buy this holiday season.

At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles--we love sharing a great glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.