This quick guide is all about how to drink champagne, I discuss how to chill it, how to open the bottle, how to pour it, how to drink it, and most importantly, how to enjoy it. To find out what bottles are worth their money, take a look here and to learn more about the sparkling wine in general head over here. To find out how to pair champagne check out this guide.
First of all, when should you and when should you not drink champagne?
I like to keep withLily Bollinger of the famous namesake champagne house. She said, ” I only drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes, I drink it whenI’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and I drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it unless I’m thirsty.” In short, you can always drink it if you feel like it.
So what temperature should you serve champagne at? Between 46- 50ºF
Short answer, not too chilled but cool. More specifically, most champagnes are good at 46 degrees Fahrenheit or about 8 degrees Celsius.
For vintage champagnes, it changes a bit to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit or about 10 degrees Celsius.
If your champagne is too cold or too warm, you miss out on some flavors. To get that temperature, it should be about 3-4 hours in the fridge or about 15-20 minutes into an ice bucket. If you do not have that much time, you can add salt to the ice bucket, and it will cool down into just about 5 minutes.
So how do you open a bottle of champagne? There are 2 options.
The traditional one is to do the sabrage. Personally, I’ve done it once, it is a huge mess, and it is more of a show.
A better way to open champagne is to take the bottle and remove the foil as well as the wire cage and the muzzle on top. Most of the time, there is a little lip where you can open the foil, if you can’t, just take a wine opener and cut it open. Hold the bottle in your right hand if you are right-handed, the left one if you are left-handed. The cork always on the opposite hand. Now, twist the bottle from the bottom and slightly tilt on the cork until it pops. You will hear it and don’t shake the bottle beforehand. Otherwise, the champagne will be all over. If you have bad luck, the cork may even hit someone, or maybe a chandelier.
So how should you pour champagne? First of all, what glass should you use?
Back in the day, people favored a flat kind of coupe style glass because champagne often had a lot of carbonation and sometimes they would even use a swizzle stick to get rid of all the bubbles. That way, everything in the champagne is quite controlled so you don’t have any excess bubbles, and you can use different glasses.
The most popular style is probably the champagne flute which is very elegant and stylish. That being said, in recent years, regular wine glasses have become a lot more popular especially for vintage champagnes because supposedly, they help you to discern flavors better.
At the end of the day, simply go with the glass you have or the one you like most.
When you pour champagne, most people hold it by the neck or in the middle. The most elegant way is to put your thumb to the back hole of the bottom of the bottle and then pour it. Ideally, you hold the glass at an angle and slowly pour it down then you wait a little bit until the foam has subsided and then you top it off. You always want the glass to be about half full if its a flute, a little less if it’s a wine glass.
Never fill a champagne glass all the way up, it just shows you don’t know what you are doing. Also, avoid pouring too fast because it will likely come out of the glass and it will take longer to fill the glass.
Do it slowly at an angle and then straight up, never just plain into the glass when it is standing on the table. If you pour champagne that way, you should get about 7-8 glasses per bottle. That may help you in your calculations.
Of course, if you get a magnum bottle which is one and a half liters, you get twice as many glasses.
How To Drink Champagne?
First, look at the champagne. If it is a very light golden color, it means it is a younger champagne. If it is darker, more golden, or yellow, it means it’s an older, more ripen champagne.
2. Smell the champagne. Hold your nose over it and see what you can smell. There are five aroma groups. Flowers, vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, indulgent delicacies.
3. Now it’s time to taste the champagne. Take a little sip, let it roll down your tongue, down the palate. Wine tasters typically swirl the champagne around their mouth just like you do with mouthwash, that way, you get the full flavor experience.
Last but not the least, pay attention to the finish when it rolls down your palate. The longer the flavor lingers in your mouth, the more high end, the more expensive the champagne will be.
Alright, that is all you need to know. Now, off and enjoy your champagne.