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Some occasions call for Champagne. And for those occasions, it's only fitting that the fine French wine is served with the finesse it deserves.
Naturally, we turned to the experts for their advice on how to serve champagne like a pro. Domenico Avolio, director of the Bureau du Champagne ( the body representing the Comité Champagne and responsible for protecting the "Champagne" denomination and its producers based in Epernay), shares his top 10 tips on how to serve Champagne with the ritual it commands.
How to Serve Champagne
1. Serving Temperature
Champagne should be served fresh, never cold. Too low a temperature inhibits the full appreciation of the aromas and the finer and more elegant nuances of Champagne. The ideal serving temperature is between 8 and 10 degrees, obtained by leaving the bottle in the lower compartment of the refrigerator for about three hours. The ideal solution is to cool Champagne in an ice bucket for twenty minutes in a mixture of ice, water and salt.
2. It's all about the flute ...
Preferably serve the champagne in flutes with the characteristic tulip shape. Wider cups allow the aromas to escape too quickly. In contrast to the thick and heavy Champagne bottle, designed to contain the pressure generated during the second fermentation in the bottle, the flutes must be light and delicate, to showcase and enhance the aromas of this fine wine.
3. Clean Glasses
Wash your glasses with very hot water. The small bubbles of bubbles that rise upwards from the bottom of the glass are enhanced by a very clean glass that must not contain residue of detergent. After washing, preferably only with very hot water, let the glasses drip dry. Using a cloth could also leave residues and unwanted odours.
4. Serving Technique
Once the bottle is removed from the ice bucket, use a white cloth to dry it. Hold the bottle firmly from the bottom with the whole palm of your hand and make sure that the label is facing your guest. Don't destroy the "habillage", the aluminium part that wraps around the neck of the bottle: every detail is important in enhancing the elegance the "wine of the kings".
5. Forget "popping"
Try not to pop the cork - ever! When you uncork a bottle of Champagne, grip the cork with confidence and pull it out slightly by turning it without leaving it: the opening sound should be a special moment, like a breath.
Photo Credit: Comité Champagne
6. How to Fill the Glasses
Champagne is poured into the glasses in two stages spaced out by a few seconds. In this way, the typical bubble collar that forms on the surface will last longer in the glass and you'll avoid the exuberance of the effervescence overflowing the glass. Fill the flute for two thirds, in order to leave space for the wine to express itself fully.
7. Champagne pairing
Serve champagne as an aperitif, or even better with a meal. Crustaceans, seafood and canapes of foie gras are timeless and classic combinations. But, Champagne is a wine for all meals that can also marry elaborate dishes. Let a wine expert help you in choosing the ideal bottle. However, never combine a brut Champagne with dessert, in this case opt for a demi-sec.
8. Every bottle tells a story
Every Champagne has its history and its unique style. Collect some information about the Champagne you have chosen to tell the story behind the fine bubbles.
9. Table Setting
Set the table with a white tablecloth. Let the Champagne be the color on your table. You will be able to appreciate its effervescence and elegant nuances, from rose to antique gold, much more.
10 The Final Finesse
Never put the empty bottle upside down in the bucket. The bottle should always be placed in the bucket with the neck upwards, even when it is empty!
Credit: Comité Champagne
Learn how to serve Champagne to avoid an epic fail like this.