At first glance, Champagne seems like a straightforward drink: You pop the cork, it fizzes, you pour it into a glass and enjoy it.
But for the inexperienced, there are several common mistakes which can make champagne a bitter drink, indeed! Here’s a list of mistakes to avoid if you want your champagne experience to be the very best.
Mistake #1: Spending Too Much Money
Champagne is a prestigious drink that has its roots in French nobility. Even today, it is associated with wealth and affluence. The price tag often reflects this fact, with vintage bottles selling for hundreds of dollars apiece.
Don’t let your champagne purchase become tainted by buyer’s remorse. Some wine merchants will try to sell you the most expensive brands, especially if they sense that you’re a new buyer with lots of money to spend. You can fight this upsell strategy by defining your budget beforehand, and sticking to it.
Remember: There are hundreds of champagne brands with quality offerings in every price range. A little research will point you toward the best brand for your special occasion.
Mistake #2: Popping the Cork
Flying corks can be amusing, but real champagne connoisseurs know better than to waste their beverage by letting it erupt all over their guests. To open the bottle the right way, keep the champagne chilled at 45 degrees for a couple of hours. Avoid moving or disrupting the bottle during this time.
When it’s time to serve the drinks, gently remove the bottle and hold the neck with a towel. Drape the towel over the cork and carefully remove the wire cage. The cork might pop at this point, but the towel will prevent spills and mishaps.
If the cork did not pop, lay the bottle on its side and grip the cork through the towel. Use your other hand to turn the bottle until the cork comes free.
Mistake #3: Improper Storage
In order to taste its best, champagne must be stored in a cool, dark place where it is protected from sunlight and disturbance. The bottles should be stored horizontally so that the liquid inside stays in contact with the cork. (A dry cork allows air to enter the bottle, degrading the flavor of the champagne.)
The best place to store champagne is in a dedicated wine cellar, a dark cabinet in an out-of-the-way place, or the back of your closet. An ambient temperature of 45 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with about 70% humidity, is optimal. Never store champagne in a refrigerator for more than a few hours prior to serving, or you could get a nasty-tasting surprise!
Mistake #4: Gulping it Down
Fine wines should be savored with all the senses, giving the drinker an unforgettable experience rather than a quick taste. Never gulp down your champagne without first inhaling its aroma, feeling the bubbles on your lips, and swishing a bit around in your mouth before swallowing. If you’re pairing your champagne with cheese or fruit, take a nibble just before you sip to really bring out the flavor of both food and champagne.
Just like you wouldn’t want to wolf down a meal of lobster and filet mignon, you don’t want to chug your champagne. Besides missing out on a truly sensual experience, you could get an embarrassing case of gas from all of those bubbles! Drink it slowly to make the enjoyment last. Continue reading %s →