This article is dedicated to those friends who I have had the honor to share a glass or two!) of champagne and other delicious bubbly wine. Sláinte!
Celebrations Call For A Bit of Sparkle With Champagne or Sparkling Wine
Note: Champagne is a ‘proper noun’ and that is why I have capitalized the word Champagne throughout the article.
We are ‘Champagne and sparkling wine lucky’ here in France. Champagne is widely available at a reasonable price and there are other excellent French sparkling wines, sold within a ‘beer’ budget, also on a taste par with Champagne.
This allows every special occasion to pop the cork on another tasty bottle of sparkling bubbles.
And in your country?
Champagne is available worldwide. If the cost of Champagne is not in your budget, look for Limoux wines, Prosecco (a very popular sparkling wine at present), Cava wines from Spain (which have been given the thumbs up for a taste bargain), or dry sparkling wines from New York. And your suggestions?
The symphony of taste, bubbles, flavor and aroma: serving Champagne and sparkling wines
Champagne and other sparkling wine produce carbon dioxide gas that is realized from pressure as the bottle is opened and poured into a glass. This release of this CO2 gas in the wine in the glass permits the classic bubble formation: the bubbles start on the bottom and rise to the top, releasing flavor and aroma. (For an excellent picture description, see this link here on “The Chemistry of Champagne“)
Serving sparkling wine and Champagne is both a symphony of taste and presentation. These soundless music of bubbles rising is beauty to the eyes and taste to the mouth and nose.
And when you invest some of your hard earned budget to buy and celebrate with a decent bottle, why not bring out the most taste from the process?
Here are my 5 tips to better tasting Champagne and sparkling wine.
Five Ways to Bring out the Most Taste in Your Champagne and Sparkling Wines
#1 The shape of the glass
For vintage (labeled for year) Champagne, the best shaped glass for serving is Tulip.
For non-vintage Champagne or sparkling wine, tulip shaped is still perfect, but you can also serve in flutes or white wine glasses.
Do not serve Champagne in coupe glasses because the aroma, touch of the bubbles and carbon dioxide gas is too strong on the nose. Due to the large surface area at the top of the glass in a coupe, the bubbles will not last as long. The glasses in this (really fun!) picture are coupe shaped. Tulip shaped is the way to go for taste, especially when serving an older, more expensive Champagne.
#2 The color and opacity of the glass
My all time favorite drink is pink Champagne. To see the beautiful color in this wine and to watch the bubbles rise, the glass should be clear without any etchings.
Clear and clean glasses. Tulip shaped. (We are getting there!)
The glass here below, while beautiful, hides some of the beauty of the bubbles:
#3 The storage of Champagne and sparkling wine bottles
First, before we serve the bottle, we need to have it on hand. Buy your Champagne and sparkling wines within a few days before you will serve it because it needs time to sit and settle before being opened. If you buy a lot of Champagne and sparkling wines for storing in the wine cellar then you always have a bottle or two for any special occasion (even better~).
If you store your wine somewhere other than a controlled temperature wine area, keep your bottles out of light. The outside glass of Champagne and sparkling wine bottles are dark, because direct light will kill some of the taste. Store bottles in a calm corner that has limited humidity, doesn’t go through large temperature changes during the year, and is not too hot or cold. Ideal temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or around 12 degree Celcius. Here is Dr. Vinny for more information!
#4 The serving temperature of the champagne and sparkling wine
Champagne and sparkling wine should not be served too cold or too hot. Serving it too cold will not allow the taste or aroma to be released. It should be served between 8-10 degrees Celsius or 47-50 degrees Fahrenheit . To reach this temperature, put the bottle in a ice bucket for a half hour before serving, or flat in the bottom of refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.
#5 The food and wine pairing
I adore Champagne on its own. Complex wines, in my opinion, taste better when appreciated either on their own, or with the right food to match. Of course, if you drink too much Champagne or sparkling wine without food, that will quickly turn your head ‘buzzy!’ What delicious food pairings you can put together when serving Champagne.
Or with light and yummy food. My favorite food matchings are:
Champagne and oysters. Prosecco with Prosciutto and Parmesan. Cava and cold shrimp. (and yours?)
Here is a full list for more ideas: Champagne and sparkling wine Food Pairing Chart
The main point is to not overwhelm your mouth with rich, heavy food when drinking a delicate Champagne or sparkling wine. These bubbles can complement the taste of the food with the right match. Another taste symphony!
Tchin Tchin! Salute!
Have you reached the end and want to read more? Please tune in on the blog for more ways that you can move to ‘happiness’ with the simple pleasures of a meal or drink, prepared or served with flavor, taste and presentation at the forefront. Simple dishes, simple ideas, simple tricks to bring taste and appreciation.
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