Drinking from a glass or a flute, serving champagne too hot or too cold: what are the tasting mistakes to avoid at all costs?
Champagne is a special wine at the festive table! Its tasting signals the start of the celebrations it has symbolised since the 17th century, when its effervescence was mastered. As extravagant as it is delicate, it requires a studied ceremonial to be appreciated.
What is the ideal temperature for drinking champagne?
The ideal serving temperature is between 8°C and 10°C. Below this temperature, the cold anaesthetises the taste buds, which find it difficult to prioritise the aromas, and above this temperature, the beverage loses its vivacity. So, to refresh it, keep it at the bottom of your fridge for at least 4 hours. But you can also plunge your bottle into a bucket of water and ice about 30 minutes before serving if it is not cool enough. If you are in a hurry, a handful of coarse salt will speed up the cooling process. A mature vintage champagne deserves a slightly higher serving temperature, aim for 10-12°C.
How to remove the cork from champagne?
Under pressure, champagne and other sparkling wines require special handling. To avoid popping the cork and letting all the foam escape, proceed in stages. How do you do it? By holding the cork firmly with one hand and, with the other, by gently turning the previously tilted bottle... And make sure you hold the cork at the last moment!
What is the best glass for champagne?
Did you know? Champagne is best enjoyed in a tulip-shaped glass, as this allows the bubbles to express themselves and the aromas to blossom, unlike a flute which tends to retain the delicacy of the bouquet. To serve your champagne, pour it in batches up to halfway down the glass. It is not necessary to tilt the glass to avoid foaming the champagne.
Analyse the colour
The colour of the champagne gives information on the age and intensity of the wine. A "brut" champagne is brighter than an aged champagne, which may be straw, honey or amber in colour. Pay attention to the bubbles, their finesse and movement. Bubbles that persist, delicate, subtle and regular, are signs of high quality champagnes.
How to recognize a good champagne by its nose?
Be careful not to inhale too much gas, which could alter your examination. Is it useful to turn the glass to release the aromas? The bubbles work to aerate the champagne and therefore release its aromas, turning the wine in your glass can accentuate the aeration but the bubbles could weaken.
On the nose, the primary aromas of champagne are generally fruity (pear, apricot, grapefruit, etc.) or floral (orange blossom, jasmine, etc.). A young champagne reveals aromas of great freshness, such as citrus fruits (grapefruit) and a mature champagne is characterised by intense and elaborate aromas of wood (burnt wood, undergrowth), or spices such as pepper or cinnamon, dried fruits, and even, for the best, candied fruits.
And in the mouth?
Taste a first sip and keep it in your mouth, making it circulate on all your mucous membranes. Here, your appreciation must be based on the acidity. It can be excessive for a nervous champagne, balanced for a supple champagne, or insufficient for a soft champagne. It is the persistence of the aromas that defines a champagne of character.