A glass of bubbly is no longer just relegated to celebrations and special occasions. Australia is the sixth largest importer of champagne in the world, behind Belgium. In 2015, we imported 8.1 million bottles of champagne – an increase of 24.3% on the previous year. So, whether it’s a casual get-together or a special milestone, let’s break out the bubbly! To celebrate World Champagne Day on 20 Oct, we’ve put together 5 tips for serving champagne.
Did you know…
The tradition of drinking champagne to mark celebrations originated in the royal courts of Europe prior to 1789, where it was seen as a status symbol. It was said to also have positive effects on women’s beauty and man’s wit.
The term ‘champagne’ can sometimes be used to describe all sparkling wines, but this is technically not correct. Champagne is a specific type of sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France. Only wines from this region made with the Méthode Champenoise can legally qualify as champagne.
There are a strict set of rules that govern what can be considered and can call itself a Champagne
Due to its fabled reputation and its protected status in the French wine ecosystem, it tends to be more expensive than other sparkling wines out in the marketplace. There are alternatives, each with their own characteristics and flavours, including:
We recommend serving sparkling wine chilled – put the bottle in a bucket of ice, or stick it in the fridge at least 45 minutes before serving and drinking it.
Whatever you do, don’t put the bottle in the freezer. It doesn’t chill evenly and can be very dangerous. If you leave it too long or forget about it, it can explode.
It's much easier than you think! Simply place one hand flat over the top of the bottle, while you use your other hand to untwist the wire cage. Keep one hand on top and slowly let the cork loosen upwards. The pressure inside the bottle will gently push out the cork.
And make sure the bottle is cold before you open it, or you risk the cork releasing too quickly from the bottle and losing some of the wine.
Tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle and pour the sparkling wine along the side of the glass – this will reduce the foam.
As for the glasses, champagne is traditionally served in elegant flutes. However, some would argue that flutes are terrible for tasting. Some say that the shape prevents enough oxygen from getting into the glass to open up the sparkling wine and blocks the aromas from reaching your nose, which in turn, limits the flavours. According to Richard Juhlin, a Swedish bubbly expert, the best glasses look more like your standard-issue wine glass.
Tip: When making a toast, smaller pours are the norm. You can easily get 6 to 8 toasting pours from a bottle of bubbly.
Serve it with food or appetizers, but not with dessert. The sweetness of the dessert combined with the bubbly can ruin the flavours of the sparkling wine and can create a poor experience. If you’re serving it with starters, sparkling wine goes very well with cheese and other salty appetizers. It is also delicious with meat, seafood, creamy pasta dishes, and believe it or not, pizza! The acidity cuts into the fattiness of the foods, creating a fantastic balance.
Do you have any other tips for serving bubbly or a favourite sparkling wine or champagne? Let us know!
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