You can relax on the sofa reading a book and enjoy a glass of red wine. But if you are celebrating an event or special occasion, toast with champagne.
This sparkling beverage is synonymous for elegance and fun. Champagne tastes great and is perfect for serving at elegant events. It’s a great choice for both white and red wine.
Let’s not forget to share the secrets behind this festive drink with you. This information will make you a conversation piece when you entertain guests. This knowledge could lead to you being called a “wine snob”.
Which grape is Champagne made of?
Wine enthusiasts have said it before: Champagne must be made in Champagne. To be considered true Champagne, a bottle must meet three criteria. They must come from Champagne in northeastern France and must use the traditional methode traditionnelelle, methode classique or méthodee Champenoise.
Three main Champagne grape varieties are available:
- Chardonnay is a white grape that has a mild flavor and is very acidic. It’s also crisp.
- Pinot Noir: A purple grape with a variety of aromas and flavors, but it is also known for its intense earthiness and rich flavor.
- Pinot Meunier: This red grape adds body and richness in Champagne.
Other grapes that are used in Champagne variations include Pinot Gris, a pink-skinned, fruity variety of the Pinot Noir, the Petit Meslier which is an acidic sibling to the Chardonnay grape and, of course, the Arbane.
How is Champagne made?
The methode Champenoise can be complex. This is evident in the high price of good Champagne. After the grapes have been distilled, they are then used to make still wines. Then, they go through a second destillation process. The liquid is made bubbly by winemakers after adding yeast and sugar. Champagne is aged for at least 15 years. Winemakers rotate the bottles occasionally to keep the yeast active. To complete the process, the yeast is removed from the top of the drink. Then, more sugar and some liquor de dosage are added.
Which are the major Champagne houses?
There are more than 250 Champagne houses worldwide, but only a few Champagne brands are well-known. These are the most popular houses.
- Dom Perignon
- Moet & Chandon
- Veuve Clicquot
Champagnes to Try:
- For a special occasion: Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut Champagne
- For a gift: Taittinger la Brut Francaise Champagne
- For your next Zoom cocktail: Veuve du Vernay Brut
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of “Brut Champagne”, but what does it mean? “Brut” refers to a sweet designation that is given to very dry varieties. It can also be used on a scale:
- Brut nature: extra dry
- Extra brut – very dry
- Brut Dry
- Extra dry – Dry, but not as dry than brut
- Dry : somewhat dry
- Demisec is a sweet dessert wine, usually a sparkling one
- Doux is a sweet dessert wine.
Champagne is most commonly called brut, even if it is a sweet variety. If you prefer a dry flavor, go for extra brut or brut natura.
Champagne storage and serving instructions
Experts agree that sparkling wines should be served at a temperature below 50 degrees F. This will cause bubbles to form.
Champagne should only be purchased when it is absolutely necessary. This wine does not get better with age. It can even be damaged if it is not stored correctly. While older refrigerators are more reliable for storage, they may vibrate or shake the beverage.
If you have already purchased some champagne ahead of time, keep them horizontally in a cool location away from sunlight. Champagne should not be kept in the freezer as it can crack or explode.
Champagne food pairings
Champagne and sparkling wines are great with many dishes, even though they’re often referred to as drinks for toasting.
Mac and cheese, or grilled cheese sandwich
How it works: The acidic bubbles of Champagne help to cut through the richness of creamy cheese and creamy grilled cheese sandwich. For a more authentic experience, add French cheese to your meal.
Thai spicy food
How it works Sweet bubbles can soften the flavor of acidic Thai dishes like Pad Prik King and Tom Yum Kung Soup.
Why it works This combination is classic because dry bubbles complement the minerality found in briny oysters.
Fish and seafood
How it works Champagne’s acidity may help to balance salty, fatty fish and chips. Wine’s flavor profile is very similar to vinegar, which is a British favourite condiment.
Salad with vinaigrette dressing
Why it works Leaves are delicate in texture and flavor. Not many alcohol products go well with salads. A delicate Champagne is a great complement to the acidity in vinaigrette dressing, and it’s especially good with tangy Cheeses.
Why Champagne works Champagne is great for cleansing the palate. Pop some bubbly next time you make chili.
Why it works Sweet and fatty duck pair well with acidic flavors in a good bottle of brut Champagne.