Serving and tasting champagne12/04/2015
At tasting time, following a few guidelines will help you serve and fully appreciate your champagne (temperature, glass type, etc.). The best part of champagne is its cool and refreshing temperature.
What is the best temperature for serving champagne?
Serve your champagne chilled – but not too cold – ideally between 8 and 10°C. When champagne is too cold (below 8°C), it will numb the taste buds and make it harder to detect all the aromas and flavors. Above 10°C, champagnes will taste heavier and less bright.
Young champagnes are best served at a temperature of 8°C, while mature or millésime champagnes should be served at 10°C.
Champagne will keep well for several years if stored on its side, in a cool place (around 10°C), with no direct exposure to sunlight or drafts.
Tips for chilling champagne
Two preferred methods for chilling champagne include:
• placing the bottle in an ice bucket for half an hour,
• storing the bottle on its side at the bottom of your refrigerator for 4 hours.
Avoid chilling your champagne in the freezer or serving your champagne in pre-chilled glasses, in order to maintain all the effervescence of the wine.
Choose the right glass
Up until the 1970s, champagne was traditionally served in champagne coupes. Unfortunately, these glasses can quickly dissipate all of the wine’s effervescence.
Serving champagne in wine glasses is recommended second to flutes. Those for fine wines, with a high stem and a large bowl, are perfect for capturing the specific flavour of old vintage champagnes that are full-bodied and mature.
Or opt for tulip-shaped glasses, not as narrow as flutes but more slender than the classic wine glass, which concentrate the flavours while allowing room for full effervescence.
Opening a champagne bottle
To open a bottle of champagne the right way, follow the specific procedure described below:
• tilt the bottle slightly and untwist the metal loop to loosen the wire cage;
• remove the wire cage and foil wrapping, while keeping a firm grip on the cork and pointing the bottle safely away from yourself or any other person;
• still maintaining a firm grip on the cork, grasp and gently rotate the bottle until the cork slides out without popping.
Did you know?
- The pressure inside a champagne bottle (up to 6.07 bar) is about twice the pressure of a car tire.
- A cork can pop out of a champagne bottle at a speed of up to 40 km/h!
The art of serving champagne
Serving champagne in the Champagne style is an art in itself that requires a special procedure:
• hold the bottle by its base and not by the neck;
• pour the champagne gradually in several steps, depending on the size of the glass and the amount of bubbles;
• fill the glass up to two-thirds full in order to smell the aromas;
• give the champagne time to open in order to fully detect all of the aromas. Once a bottle is opened, no storage method will preserve the qualities of the champagne.