Valentine’s Day Inpsiration ~ Guide to Champagne

I admit, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart and I can’t deny that I love being showered with affection and gifts {is that really so bad?}  As I enter my favourite boutiques, Valentine’s Day preparation is underway and love is in the air.  There will be chocolates, bouquets of roses, and many other ways to celebrate … and champagne is at the top of the list.  I’ve put together an updated version of my ‘guide to champagne’ – the proper chilling temperature, opening technique, serving tips, 
and more …

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” ~ Dom Perignon 

Chilling champagne ~

Ideally non-vintage Champagne, should be chilled to 40-45 degrees to bring out the flavor.  This temperature can be attained by placing the bottle in a refrigerator for approximately two hours or freezer for 15 minutes; however, the classic way, and my personal preference, is to place the bottle in a ice-bucket filled half with ice and half with water for approximately 20 minutes.
Vintage Champagne should be served slightly warmer, to 54-57 F.  
* Colder temperatures stun the taste buds if below these temperatures.

Properly opening a champagne bottle ~

Remove the foil from the cork, untwist the wire cage, and wrap the bottle’s neck and cork in a bar towel.
Angle the bottle away in a safe direction.  Hold the cork and towel, and gently twist the bottle while slowly easing the cork out of the bottle’s neck.

Serving champagne ~

Place your right hand at the base of the bottle with your thumb into the depression (also called the punt) and balance the front of the neck on the side of the glass, supported by your left hand.  Tilt the glass to its side so the champagne will pour down the side of the glass, reducing the speed at which it hits the base of the glass, thus maintaining the bubbly texture.  Wait until the bubbles subside and then continue pouring to fill the glass. This may take a few pauses.  Twist the bottle as you lift it from the side of the glass to remove any remaining champagne on the edge of the bottle.
Toast and enjoy!

Did you know?

To be considered as Champagne, it must only be made from chardonnay, pinot meunier, or pinot noir grapes.  
Champagne can only be labeled as such if it is made in the Champagne region of France.
Champagne receives its bubbles from two fermentation processes: once in the barrel and again in the bottle.

My top five picks:

PerrierJouet Belle Epoque Rose
Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame
Krug Grande Cuvée
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut

Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose – Great price!

How to store, pour, and pair champagne from Veuve Clicquot:

10 things you may not know about champagne:

xoxo, B

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Photos via here, tips via here.

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