Champagne 101

4 Champagne Glasses Quentin Houyoux

I aspire to have Champagne as an everyday drink. The reality is it's more often a sparkling wine. But hey, I'm not complaining. It's white, it sparkles, it makes me happy.

No matter how seasoned a professional drinker you are, though, you'll probably learn something from the information below, kindly supplied by the Champagne Information Bureau. (Now there's a place I aspire to work.)

It confirmed that a silver spoon does not help keep the bubbles alive in an open bottle you'd like to save. But it's not going to keep me from doing it (should the situation ever arise).

Quantity

Abottle of Champagne serves about seven Champagne flutes. When served as an aperitif, allow one bottle for every three or four guests, but at a meal, serve one bottle for every two or three.

Temperature

Champagne takes around three hours to chill in the fridge. For a quicker result, place the bottle in a bucket filled with equal parts ice and water. This takes about thirty minutes. Never put Champagne bottles in the freezer as it will dumb down the aroma and flavours.

Open

Be brave! Slant the bottle at a 45 degree angle away from guests. Untwist (exactly six half turns) and remove the wire muzzle. Grasp the cork firmly with thumb and forefinger and twist the bottle slowly letting the pressure help to push the cork out. It should sigh rather than pop.

Serve

Champagne is best served in a tulip-shaped glass or a flute. Do not serve in a saucer-shaped glass as the aroma and bubbles will disperse. Serve by holding the glass upright. Pour a small quantity of Champagne in the glass and allow it to settle before filling two-thirds full.

Enjoy

hold the glass by the stem or even better at the base to avoid warming the drink. Between glasses, store the opened bottle of Champagne in an ice bucket for no more than three hours. Contrary to popular belief, a silver spoon placed in the neck of an open bottle does not prevent the Champagne going flat.

Store

Keep un-opened Champagne horizontally in a cool, dark place away from heat, light and severe temperature variations.

And now for an unrelated and totally inappropriate joke called The Best Toast.

With the gang gathered 'round at the pub, John O'Reilly hoisted his pint and proclaimed,
"Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!"

Cheers broke out from his mates, and that won him the prize for best toast of the night.

He went home and boasted to his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the best toast of the night."

She said, "Aye, did ye now? And what was your toast?"

Thinking quickly, he said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner.

The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary."

She said, "Aye, he told me so, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to get him to come."

Cheers!

Have something to tell us about this article?