01 Apr The Complete Guide to Champagne – How to Open, Serve & Store
If you like champagne and like to bring out a bottle of fine bubby, every time you invite special guests over for dinner, it’s a good idea to learn how to open and pour champagne – and this isn’t very difficult to learn. However, getting the bottle’s cork out is only 50% of the task done. Even before you impress your guests with your choice of champagne, there are some things you need to focus on. Read on for our complete guide to champagne:
Most wine experts will agree that the right way to a chill a champagne bottle, is in a bucket. If you pull out a bottle from your cellar and plunge it into a bucket that’s filled with ice & water, it should reach the ideal temperature within 15-20 minutes. You also have the option to set the bottle down on its side, on the bottom shelf of the fridge for a minimum of 3-4 hours before you intend to serve it. If the temperature remains constant, you can leave it there for longer than that too.
Caution: Don’t try to speed-chill the bottle by putting it in the freezer; that’s also the express path to ruining its flavours and aromas.
Opening the bottle
- Be very careful while uncorking the bottle; keep in mind that champagne corks are like sprinters and can easily travel upto 100 kmph. It does take a bit of practice to ensure injury-free opening. You will find a number of videos on YouTube that show you the right method to uncork a bottle of champagne.
- Use your waiter’s friend to cut the foil, right at the bottom of the cage. It’s best not to tear off the tab as that often comes off unevenly.
- Take the foil off the bottle & then place a cloth right over the cage – ensure your thumb is over the cork.
- Now untwist its wire cage and carefully loosen it; all the while keeping your thumb over the cork & cage.
- Get some leverage by firming up your grip at the bottom of the champagne bottle & hold it at an angle of 45 degrees. Use your other hand to gently twist the cork as well as the bottle towards the opposite direction.
- Now, just release the cork very silently and keep the bottle at 45 degrees even as the pressure inside reduces, and you feel the cork easing.
It’s important to serve the champagne in decent glassware like a flute. This will deliver the wine right onto your tongue, which adds to the enjoyment of drinking a bubbly. Pour out the champagne into the centre of the glass, in a single stream (use 2 pours if required).
Keep in mind that any sparkling or non-vintage wine isn’t really designed for storage for any period of time; that’s because the producer had already matured the wine for you. However, vintage champagne can definitely be stored for a very long time. Store the bottles on their sides in a dark, cool place that has very little temperature variation.
In case you are storing a bottle you have already opened, use a proper champagne stopper before putting it away in the fridge; whoever said that a spoon in the neck of the champagne bottle will ensure the bubbles are retained, obviously hasn’t tried it themselves – it doesn’t work!!
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