Champagne is, without a doubt, the beverage of choice during the holidays. If you’re planning a holiday party or a family meal stocking up on a few bottles of bubbly will do the trick. And if you’re on a budget, then don’t fear the exorbitant prices, sparkling wine from Australia, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and the United States offer the same bang without the hefty price tag. Here’s everything you need to know about storing, pouring, preserving, and serving bubbly.
Store bottles in a chilled environment since it is ideally served well chilled at 7 to 9° C. If you need to chill the sparkling wine quickly then add equal parts ice and cold water in a bucket and place the bottle inside for 30 minutes. If you have more time to spare then chill your bottle of bubbly in a refrigerator for at least three hours.
The fizz in champagne (the tiny bubbles), is said to be the essence of fine champagnes, as they help transfer taste, aroma and the mouth-feel of the beverage. The bubbles form when large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide is released, and scientists have long believed that the method of pouring champagne can influence gas levels (read: the quality of the drink). A 2010 ground breaking study from France reported that pouring champagne in an “angled, down-the-side way is best for preserving its taste and fizz” as this method preserved twice as much carbon dioxide.
Releasing carbon dioxide is what forms the fizz in champagne and makes it taste good. Try dropping a raisin into an already opened bottle of bubbly to salvage any bit of carbon dioxide left. The raisin’s ridged surface will adhere to the carbon dioxide and release them in the form of fizz.
Champagne goes well with a variety of foods, due to its low sugar content and high acidity, including: pasta salads, a cheese course, sea food, pasta oysters, shrimps, light fishes, antipasti and with many desserts. Serve the beverage in a tall-stemmed flute as the shape will retain the bubbles better. The rule of thumb is the larger the surface area, the faster the bubbles dissipate, and the less enjoyable the drink.
While it is tempting to impress your guests with the dramatic opening of a champagne bottle, this method proves to be extremely wasteful as you lose champagne, and you lose more bubbles. Opt for a more elegant method of opening a bottle, also known as lover’s sigh, which will get the job done without wasting any bubbly.