It’s easy to pop the cork on a bottle of Champagne, fill up a few glasses (without allowing the froth to overflow, please!), and simply enjoy the bubbles tickle the nose.
And that would be perfectly fine.
But if you’d like to extend your knowledge and enjoyment just a little bit, here are five interesting facts to know…
- Words on the bottle label can help you know what type or types of grapes were used to make the Champagne.
“Blanc de Blancs” means that white grapes were used — almost always Chardonnay exclusively. “Blanc de Noir” means that red grapes were used — mostly Pinot Noir, but often with some Pinot Meunier added.
- Some Champagne has a vintage year on the label, while some does not.
In general, a “vintage Champagne” is made in years when the weather cooperated, enabling the picking of exceptional grapes. However, that does not mean that a “non-vintage” Champagne is in any way inferior. Many Champagne houses bottle non-vintage wines exclusively, blending wine from several vintages in order to maintain a “house style.”
- Champagne should be served ice cold in order to keep the bubbles alive after a bottle has been opened.
The most effective type of ice bucket is one filled half-way with ice, and then topped with water, leaving only enough room for the bottle.
- The great glass controversy — shape does matter.
Who would ever imagine that the type of glass used for serving Champagne would be controversial in 2018? Didn’t we get rid of those flat, bubble-depleting tulip glasses a long time ago?
Well, now some are saying that the long, tall flute should be replaced by a standard wine glass, the wider the mouth the better. That’s fine if you intend to swirl and sniff the Champagne, just as you would a still wine. But I’ve always thought of Champagne as a fun beverage — one to be sipped and enjoyed rather than sniffed and pondered. Ultimately, though, the choice is yours.
- Don’t forget the food.
While we think of Champagne as a beverage of celebration, it’s much more than that. Besides Sunday brunch and “small plates”/tapas fare, it pairs beautifully with spicy Southwest cuisine, shellfish and sushi.