With a little help from a press release (which I need these days thanks to a busy schedule), enjoy this post prepared by Rubenstein Communications, Inc.
It’s Bubbly Season:
Ten Tips to Enjoying Champagne Like an Expert
‘Tis the season when more than 40 percent of the year’s champagne bottles go a-popping! Champagne is the wine of celebration, love and romance but it need not be reserved only for these special occasions. As the most versatile and magical wine, Champagne connotes the good life and marries well with a host of foods – much more than most still wines. Plus, it makes a great statement. So, serve it up anytime.
Here are ten tips to enjoying Champagne like a pro, according to world-renowned Champagne expert Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, just out in paperback (Vintage).
1. $20 to $40 Buys a Delicious Bottle of Bubbly: You don’t need to break the bank for a delicious bottle. Good sparkling wines (from California, for example) cost just under $20. True Champagnes – from the Champagne region of France – can also be very affordable, with non-vintage selections (no year on the label) in the $25 to $40 range.
2. Champagne is Ready When You Are: You don’t need to be a wine expert to serve champagne. Because Champagne is ready to drink whenever the Champagne house releases it, you don’t have to worry about it being too young, to raw, too tannic, etc. Plus, a non-vintage Champagne is actually a blend of multiple vintages, yet another reason not to sweat the details.
3. Try Champagne with Breakfast or Brunch… Champagne is a natural with meals. For breakfast or brunch, it pairs well with breads and croissants, as well as egg dishes including omelets filled with veggies, cheese or salmon.
4. …And Dinner: Sparking wine is an excellent choice for dinner. It pairs beautifully with any entrée and also eliminates the oft-confusing process of choosing between a red or white. With seafood, fish, chicken or even red meat, select a more full-bodied Champagne. For a festive meal, a rosé (pink) Champagne is a trendy choice. If you are in the mood to splurge, buy a vintage champagne (with a year on the label), which has greater complexity due to a few more years of aging and perhaps a finer selection of grapes.
5. Think light for an Aperitif: If you are planning to serve Champagne as an aperitif, ask your retailer for a light or medium-style sparkling wine that will go well with any appetizer, from olives to nuts to chorizo to cheese to caviar.
6. Dry vs. Extra Dry: Serve a brut (bone dry) Champagne if you plan to drink it as an aperitif or with a meal. Serve an extra dry or demi-sec Champagne for dessert as both are slightly sweet.
7. Chill Out: Champagne is properly chilled in just 20 minutes by putting the bottle in a bucket filled with ice and water. No freezer, please as it will suppress the delicate flavors! A few hours in a refrigerator is okay, but you don’t want the wine too cold.
8. Open Up: No need to be intimidated: Opening the bottle is actually very easy! After releasing the wire muzzle, hold the cork firmly with one hand and slowly turn the bottle – not the cork – from the bottle’s waist or below. The cork will come out easily with a soft pop and with no loss of froth and sparkle. By the way, it is considered gauche to send a cork flying.
9. Glassware is Key: Throw away those saucer-shaped glasses – they dissipate the precious bubbles. Use flutes or tulip glasses. Also, glasses should be filled about two-thirds, and super clean as soap residue or dirt also dissipates the bubbles.
10. Sip It: Drinking Champagne means sipping. Don’t gulp down Champagne as all the drama is in the glass and the bubbles that dance for you. Plus its elegant flavors like to tickle your palate.
Oscar Wilde said that only those without imagination can’t find a good reason to drink Champagne.
Note: My favorite Champagne bargain, as I’ve mentioned before, is Champagne Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut for around $35 USD [Website]. You should be able to find it in your local fine wine shop, not the big grocery stores.