Champagne is a tasty sparkling wine originating from the Champagne region of France. It uses three traditional grape varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The grapes are harvested in autumn and then fermented into still wine. This base wine is then bottled with added yeast and sugar to begin the secondary fermentation process, creating bubbles as carbon dioxide gas forms in the bottle. Once fermentation has finished, the champagne is aged for up to 15 months before being blended by cellar masters to create a consistent flavour profile.
What to consider when choosing the right champagne for special occasions
Champagne is a popular choice for special occasions and celebrations, as it adds a bit of sparkle and luxury to any event. But with so many different types available, how do you choose the right champagne for your occasion?
Consider what tasting experience you want to create
When selecting champagne for an occasion, start by considering what tasting experience you want to create. Are you looking for something sweet or dry? Something light or full-bodied? Champagne ranges from light, fruity sparkling wines to bolder, more complex varieties. Consider whether you want a bottle of vintage champagne (made with only grapes grown in a specific year) or non-vintage, which combines grapes from different years.
Consider the occasion
Once you’ve decided on the type of champagne you’d like, consider the occasion for which it is being purchased. A bottle of vintage champagne may be more appropriate for a romantic evening or celebration. On the other hand, if the event is more casual and involves large groups, non-vintage champagne might be best. Either way, make sure to purchase enough bottles to ensure there’s enough for everyone.
Consider the food pairing
When choosing specific types of champagne, consider what food will be served. Sparkling wines can pair well with various foods; however, some are better suited to certain dishes than others. For example, if you plan to serve fish or chicken dishes, look for light and fruity champagne, as this type will tend to bring out the flavours in the food. If you plan to serve beef or other heartier dishes, opt for a fuller-bodied champagne that the meal won’t overpower.
Consider the origin
The region where the champagne was produced can also be important in selecting a bottle. Champagne from the northern part of France tends to be lighter and fruitier. On the other hand, champagne from the south is more complex, with bolder flavours. Consider which style best matches your food and occasion, as this can make all the difference when choosing the right champagne.
Consider your budget. Vintage champagnes can be expensive; however, many affordable non-vintage options are also available. Consider how much you’re willing to spend and shop accordingly. Remember to look for special discounts and sales when possible, as these can help you save money while still getting a quality bottle of champagne.
Join a wine club
Lastly, joining the champagne of the month club can be an excellent way to explore and discover different champagnes. The best wine clubs will introduce you to new varieties, pairings and regions, helping you choose the perfect champagne for any occasion. Plus, many wine clubs offer exclusive discounts on select bottles each month, which can help you save money while still enjoying high-quality champagne.
How to transport and store your champagne
When transporting champagne, use an insulated bag or box, helping to keep the temperature consistent and ensure the wine is not exposed to direct sunlight. Additionally, consider purchasing a chilled bottle of champagne for your event; this will help keep it more relaxed for extended periods.
For long-term storage, keep your champagne bottles in a cool (ideally between 55-59 degrees Fahrenheit), dark place away from vibrations. Store them horizontally with the cork facing down so it stays moist and doesn’t dry out, which will prevent air from entering the bottle and spoiling the liquid inside.
How to serve your champagne
When serving champagne, remove the foil covering and unwind the wire cage. Then, hold a napkin or cloth over the cork while you twist the bottle. This method will help prevent any liquid from spilling out too quickly. Once opened, pour a small amount into each glass to allow aromas and flavours to develop before topping off with more liquid.
Choosing the right champagne for any occasion can be a daunting task. However, considering the type, occasion, food pairing and origin of the champagne, you can make an informed decision that will please everyone. Additionally, joining a wine club and storing and transporting your champagne correctly will help ensure it is enjoyable to drink. With these tips in mind, you can select the perfect bottle of champagne for any event, and remember to drink responsibly.