You did it! You are almost done with 2020! There are plenty of reasons to throw shade at 2020, but let’s appreciate one fact: You’ll be drinking 100 percent more champagne this season than any other time of the year.
Yes, the celebrations will look different than other years, but a glass of champagne still goes with any outfit, including your sweatpants on NYE. She’s a versatile drink after all!
That being said, you don’t have to save it for a special occasion. It’s basically a bottled vibe-improver so let’s make champagne-all-day a thing. Maybe you’re virtually clinking glasses at midnight but don’t forget to make every day (or brunch, or afternoon) a celebration.
Because bubbly can be intimidating (especially the expensive kind), I spoke to Moët Hennessy brand representative Rich Buchanan, aka the Dom Perignon expert, about the do’s and don’t’s of drinking champagne over a glass of their 2010 vintage (I know, my job is hard). Below, he explains exactly how to pour, sip, and bring out my inner bougie lady with a glass of bubbly. Pop the cork (actually don’t, see below), and let’s get classy.
When pouring, leave some room at the top of the glass
This may seem obvious, but slow your roll on that pour. Over-pouring is risky because 1. you’re likely to spill those precious bubbles over the rim, and 2. you risk your glass warming up too quickly (warm champagne = bad). Letting the champagne breathe is important so you can enjoy all the aromas and flavors, which could be lost if your bevi warmed up too quickly. When pouring, leave about an inch for the bubbles to do their thing (bubble and pop). Try to pour slowly and only a few inches at a time. You can always double back for another round.
Hold your glass by the stem
If you’re like me, you may be wondering how many times you’ve revealed yourself to be classless trash because you’ve held your glass by the bowl. Buchanan insists that “it’s not pretentious, just that your hands will warm up your Dom Perignon (or whatever champs you’re drinking) too much if you hold it by the bowl of the glass.” Plus, it looks chic, right?
Serve it alone or with food
As we’ve already established, champagne is perfect for any time. Open some bubs pre-dinner (or lunch, I’m not judging) as an aperitif or post for dessert. Sipping champagne is an experience in itself that it doesn’t need an occasion or meal.
That being said, this bevi is versatile and can easily be matched with food (try biting into a french fry then sipping, trust me). While it famously pairs with strawberries, oysters, and cheese, bubbles also go well with smoked salmon, mushrooms, salami, and shellfish. The acidity of the champagne cuts through the richness of a dish containing butter or honey. Go with your literal gut and don’t overthink it.
Use a stopper between pours
It’s all 👏🏻 about 👏🏻 the 👏🏻 bubbles people. Once opened, use a champagne stopper to preserve all the delicious effervescence between pours. Depending on how fast you drink, you run the risk of your champs flattening. Let’s make that last sip as good as the first, shall we?
Don’t cool in your freezer
I repeat, do not chill it in your freezer! It will explode like a science experiment after about 15 minutes. Champagne is best served between 45 and 50 degrees, aka three to four hours in the bottom section of your fridge. Champagne must be served cold – the chilly temp reduces the pressure inside the bottle, making the cork less likely to shoot off at dangerous speeds. If you need to expedite the chilling process, place the bottles in a blend of ice and water 30 to 50 minutes before serving.
Don’t use a flute glass
Contrary to popular belief, champagne should not be served in a tulip glass. Instead, use an all-purpose white wine glass or a tulip flute. “Ninety percent of what you taste comes from what you smell, and unfortunately, those flutes don’t allow you to appreciate all of the aromas, and hence all of the flavors, nuance, and complexity,” says Buchanan. If you’re drinking The Good Stuff, like a nine-year-old bottle of Dom Pérignon, you won’t want to miss anything.
Don’t pop the bottle (sorry)
Buchanan recommends keeping the wire cage on when opening your bottle. “The cage gives you a better grip on the cork and aids in preventing it from shooting out and losing some of that precious liquid.”
Instead, pretend you’re an adult and…
- Untwist the wire on the cage six times. Ensure that the wire is spread wider than the lower lip of the bottle.
- Keeping your thumb on top of the cork and cage with one hand, use your other hand to twist from the base of the bottle itself, slowly allowing the cork to come up on its own.
- The cork should then come free from the bottle with a “gentle sigh” as opposed to a “big bang”.
Don’t wait! Open your bottle anytime.
Any bottle of champagne is already aged to perfection and every day can be a call for celebration. Picture yourself at a vineyard chateau in France (done, easy), and the chef de cave (aka the head winemaker) declares the bottle is perfect! “Champagnes are released when the chef de cave declares that the wine has reached the balance they have been waiting for,” says Buchanan, which is exactly what happened at the Dom Perignon cellars after their Vintage 2010 matured for ten years. He stressed that your bottle is perfect to experience now, why wait?
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