Wed, Dec 28, 2011 08:50 AM
As another New Year's Eve marks an end of the old and the
beginning of a new, here's a toast to celebrate the occasion:
May Champagne brighten the mind and strengthen the
A toast to our ancestors that made this life possible; may their
efforts not be wasted and may we do as well judged by the
generations to follow.
Champagne has launched thousands of ships, toasted billions of
weddings and special occasions, attended countless parties, and
shared untold special moments between two people. Let it ring in a
great new year for everyone! No other wine is so associated with
joy and festivity. Champagne is said to make the young wiser and
the old young again.
Sparkling wines are made the world over, but only the sparkling
wines from Champagne in the north of France are correctly called
Whatever you celebrate with, here are some tips on serving
Sparkling wine should be served in tall flutes or tulip shaped
glasses, long-stemmed, to keep it from warming in your hand. These
are designed to enhance the flow of bubbles to the top and to
concentrate the aromas of the wine.
Never chill or ice the glass.
Champagne should be served at about 43-48°F. At this range the
smell and taste are most pronounced. Achieve this temperature by
placing the unopened bottle in an ice bucket filled half with ice
and half with water, with a good amount of salt added to the water.
Let the bottle cool about 7-10 minutes. Or refrigerate it for 2-3
hours. Actual refrigerator temperature is too cold for serving.
Champagne should never be placed in the freezer.
Remove enough of the foil to be able to loosen the twisted-wire
hood and remove all with the cork at the same time, best with a
napkin or cloth wrapped around it. It is wise to keep your thumb
over the cork to prevent it from popping out on its own. And keep
the other hand below the bottle to counter downward pressure.
Never shake the bottle. Try to keep it as quiet as possible. If the
cork is loose, remove it carefully with the wire hood. To do this,
hold the bottle away from you and anyone else at a 45-degree angle.
Hold the cork and gently turn the bottle in one direction. Turn the
bottle, not the cork.
It is a good idea to keep the bottle near the first glass to be
filled, in case the removal of the cork starts a gush from of the
The cork should not pop. As the saying goes: "The ear's gain is the
palate's loss." You waste bubbles by popping the cork.
When properly done, it should come off with a quiet sigh. Before
pouring, the neck should be wiped with a clean cloth. Then begin by
pouring slowly to allow the froth to settle as you pour. If need
be, stop. Let it settle and pour more.
Champagne has reached its maturity and is ready for immediate
consumption as soon as it leaves the Champagne house. It is
generally a blend of several different vintages, which is why there
is usually no year listed on the bottle. However, it can be stored
like other fine wines in cellar-like conditions for many years.
Important is constant cool temperature and no light. The bottles
should be stored horizontally to keep the cork moist and thus
retain its elasticity. This will keep the gas in and the air
Once opened, a bottle of champagne does not need to be consumed all
at once. If properly closed (champagne stoppers are inexpensive),
place it into the fridge and it should be good for several
Wishing everyone a happy New Year, cheers!