THE BON VIVANT’S GUIDE TO DRINKING CHAMPAGNE

‘REMEMBER, GENTLEMEN, IT’S NOT JUST FRANCE WE ARE FIGHTING FOR, IT’S CHAMPAGNE!WINSTON CHURCHILL FAMOUSLY BARKED TO MOTIVATE HIS FORCES DURING WW2. INDEED THE IDEA THAT CHAMPAGNE MAY HAVE BEEN OUSTED FROM THE WINE LIST HAD GERMANY WON THE WAR IS A HARROWING THOUGHT. WHETHER AN ELEGANT TIPPLE FOR SOPHISTICATES OR THE HALLMARK OF THE DEBAUCHED BON VIVANT, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DISASTROUS, BUT LET’S CAST ASIDE THE WHAT IFS FOR NOW AND CONCENTRATE ON HOW BEST TO QUAFF CHAMPAGNE.
The Flute is Passé

For all the champagne flute’s pomp and grandeur, do not be fooled by it’s slender limbs and decadent appearance. If you’ve succumbed to it’s come hither charms then you’ve really fallen at the first. Champagne should be savoured instead in a receptacle of more voluptuous proportions. Think more Marilyn Monroe than Kendall Jenner. Says Lofselt of Moet, ‘Traditional Champagne flutes have a celebratory shape and are perfect for showcasing Champagne’s stream of bubbles, but their narrow shape actually stifles aromas and flavors,” she adds. “Coupe glasses, on the other hand, create the opposite experience; the glass’ extra-wide mouth overexposes the Champagne to air allowing the bubbles to escape too quickly and not allowing the drinker to enjoy all of its aromas.” These Waterford Lismore Essence Champagne Saucers are just the ticket.

Don’t be a Food Snob

However much utterances of champagne might have you dreaming up fictitious recipes of the most extravagant kind, scallops marinated in caviar and lightly  peppered with crushed pearls or Lobster stuffed with diamond paste. You needn’t always pair expensive champagne with refined food, in fact the humble Fish supper pairs excellently with a glass of bubbles. Why? The acidity in the champagne is great for cutting through the rich batter, meanwhile most champagnes carry citrus notes which, much like your lemon wedge make the partner perfectly with your poisson.  Furthermore the lightness of champagne off sets the saltier fatty flavours of fried food.

Treat Champagne like Beer

Gerard Liger Belair, a professor at the University of Reims and author of Uncorked: the Science of Champagne published a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry that found ‘beer-like way of serving’ champagne to be the optimum way to preserve the bubbles. He discovered that pouring the champagne slowly into an angled glass, ‘impacted it’s concentration of dissolved CO2 significantly less.’ The study fielded analytical proof that ‘low temperatures prolong the drink’s chill and helps it to retain it’s effervescence during the pouring process’. The study concludes with a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of your bubbly:

1.First, chill the bottle to four to seven degrees Celsius. This requires 3-4 hours of refrigeration or 30 minutes in an ice bucket to get your champagne to the proper pouring temperature.

2 Open the bottle by holding it away from anyone at a 45-degree angle. “Hold the cork and gently turn the bottle in one direction. Turn the bottle and not the cork. The cork should not pop. You waste bubbles when you pop the cork.”

3. Finally pour like a beer, slowly into an angled glass.

Don’t Grope the Glass

The shape of the coupe is surrounded by mystery and intrigue most probably based on it’s bulbous appearance. Indeed, how the shape of the Coupe came about is often a favourite cocktail party discussion often provoking much titillation. Debate as you will, whether it was the Greek mastos cup complete with a nipple and made from an impression of Helen of Troy’s assets or whether it was promiscuous Antoinette who first lent their anatomy to the cause. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, please refrain from groping the coupe however much the dimensions of said object might tempt you to. There is a very good reason behind it; holding the glass by the bowl will cause heat from your hands to warm your fizz, impacting on the release of the flavours as you sip.

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