Many manners exist to taste the champagne, » beverage of kings « ! For your pleasure and that of your hosts, discover our tricks and advices for tasting and keeping bubbles
Wine tasting at the perfect temperature
Wine is best served between 8 – 10°C. Avoid the freezer at all costs, prefer to cool the bottle in its ice water for 20 minutes. Alternatively, keep it for 3 to 4 hours at the bottom of your fridge.
Keeping a bottle once open
Use an airtight cork. Forget the myth of the coffee spoon. Only an airtight stopper will help maintain your champagne for a few days.
Choose you glass wisely
For a long time (until the 70’s), champagne was served in coupes. However, coupes have disadvantages due to their wide-mouthed shape: effervescence disappears quickly and aromas vanish rapidly. Flutes, which are long and thin, are better for serving champagne : a flute has the effect of concentrating the bubbles and releasing the aromas. For connoisseurs, the ideal shape is that of a tulip: a tulip shape is high enough for bubbles to rise up to the surface and for the temperature to remain as constant as possible.
Keeping your champagnes… to optimize the taste!
Keeping bottles :
bottles should be stored horizontally for the cork to remain airtight, thus minimizing the exchanges of gas between the outside and the inside of the bottles ;
they should be stored in a cool place to avoid changes in temperature that are detrimental to the ageing process ;
they should be kept in a completely dark place, so that the taste of the champagne is not tainted by the light ;
avoid knocks that might weaken the bottles, when transporting them for example. To stabilise the molecular balance, a few week’s rest is essential after transporting the bottles ;
storage temperature must be constant (narrow thermic range), whatever the time of the day or the month. A temperature average ranging from 6 to 14°C is perfect. Humidity is critical, so avoid places with low humidity.
- Avoid washing your champagne flutes with dishwashing detergents. Just rinse them in clear water. Dishwashing detergents all contain additives that prevent froth and that effect the effervescence.
- Many bubbles: the number of bubbles depends on the quality of the champagne and the type of flute that you use. A flute with scratches and defects will get more bubbles than a « normal » flute…
Types of champagne
- Quart : 20 cl
- Demie (Half) : 37.5 cl
- Bottle : 75 cl
- Magnum : 2 bottles (1.5 l)
- Jeroboam : 4 bottles (3 l)
- Mathusalem : 8 bottles (6 l)
- Salmanazar : 12 bottles (9 l)
- Balthazar : 16 bottles (12 l)
- Nabuchodonosor : 20 bottles (15 l)
The shape of the cork
Initially a perfect cylinder before bottling, a champagne cork takes on the shape of a big mushroom with a wide-mouthed foot after a few months (it is said to « skirt »: « juponner » in French). After several years, the bottom part of the cork straightens and becomes increasingly thinner (this is called « pegging »: « cheviller » in French). From the shape of the cork, one can tell whether bottling was performed recently or not.
Crack open a
bottle of champagne
Above all, do not direct the bottle (or the ceremonial sabre) towards one of your guests or the wall (only use a sabre outdoors).
Take a bottle of champagne at an ideally cool temperature and strip the capsule from the cap. Remove the wire-cap carefully so that the cork does not fly out. Make sure the temperature of the bottle is neither too cold nor too warm, as this can break it. Do not shake the bottle, as this will increase the pressure inside the bottle, which is already at 6 Bars.
Mark the seam of the bottle with your forefinger. Extend your arm and firmly hold the bottle with the neck pointing upward at about 45°. With your other hand, lay the back or the cutting-edge of the blade of your sabre flat over the seam. Keep enough distance between the blade and the cork. Gently slide the blade of your sabre along the seam and keep moving your arm along the curve formed by the cork when it flies out. Be careful to cut the head of the bottle and not the cork.
If at first you do not succeed, try again. The less force you use, the better !
Be careful because the head of the bottle flies off with the cork at a speed of about 200 km/h and can travel up to 15 meters! There may also be splinters of glass.
Get a glass ready for when the champagne gushes out!