Sparkling wines including Champagne evoke thoughts of celebration, success, love, romance and luxury. With the different levels of sweetness, these associations are stronger during the holiday seasons and that’s when you need the practices and forms prescribed by the social conventions and authorities of champagne and sparkling wines.
How do you use or treat champagne and sparkling wine? Well, the following are generally accepted ways to go about things.
It’s generally agreed that sparkling wine should be stored between 50-55 degrees in a humid environment. To keep the cork from drying out and ruining the champagne, place the bottle on its side. Champagne should be served when between 44 and 48 degrees to get the most out of its scents and flavours.
To avoid a spray or keep from injuring someone with the cork, you need to know how to open a bottle of sparkling wine. After removing the foil covering, then untwisting and removing the metal cage wire, it is advised that you hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, grasp the cork with one hand and turn the bottom of the bottle slowly but firmly with the other. The cork will be gently released into your hand.
If you don’t mind losing a lot of champagne and ending up with a sticky floor, popping it is fun too. Just always be careful where you aim.
According to On the Losses of Dissolved CO2 during Champagne serving, a study by scientists, to serve the wine, we should tilt our glass at an angle and gently slide the liquid in along the side to preserve the most bubbles instead of pouring directly in to create a head of mousse. It’s said that colder bottle temperatures also help to reduce loss of gas. Presently, the industry is designing glasses designed to reduce loss of gas.
Usually, champagne is served in a champagne flute. A flute is a long-stemmed, tall, narrow bowl with thin sides and an etched bottom. The coupe, a shorter glass with a much wider bowl, is said to have been designed using a mould of Marie Antoinette’s left breast as a birthday present to Louis XVI but is not used as often as a champagne flute probably because it tends to over-oxygenate the liquid.
Also, because you get less of your champagne’s aroma with the flute, some people prefer to use tulip-shaped glasses. These expand in the middle and have a smaller width at the top. They preserve the most bubbles, scents and flavours.
Where clinking your glass is concerned, as a guest, you decide whether to clink or not depending on the hosts and partygoers. As a host, all you need to do is make sure your guests are happy. For example, avoid making them feel uncomfortable by making comments like “I don’t clink” for the sake of those among your guests who might like to clink.
When your dinner party is over but your champagne is still half full, you can store it by buying a bottle stopper for it and keeping it in the fridge. But you should only keep it this way for a few days to a week. It can last a while but the less time it spends this way, the better.