Pop Your Cork

27 / 01 / 15

Pop your cork

Champagne, like a puppy, is not just for Christmas. This beguiling wine is a year-round winner and as we start to plan weddings with our bevvy of brides & grooms, what better time to get some expert advice on better bubbles.

Champagne facts & fictions

Champagne is primarily made of black grapes but some Chardonnay is used and although there are many wines from all over France and other parts of the world made with a secondary fermentation in the bottle, only the wines from the tiny Reims & Epernay regions can truly be Champagne.

Originally a much sweeter wine drunk with dessert, the drier Brut style we tend towards today was developed for British tastes.

In truth Dom Perignon was not the inventor of Champagne. Benedictine monks in the 16th century were the first to bottle a sparkling wine and English Scientist Christopher Merret documented the process of a secondary fermentation 40 years before Dom P supposedly invented the good stuff. Credit where it’s due, the legendary monk did much to improve the manufacture & quality of the drink we know and love today

And as if we needed any more reason to quaff it -this stuff is actually good for you. Champagne contains beneficial trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and lithium (a natural mood regulator). Studies have also shown that moderate consumption of Champagne may help the brain cope with the trauma of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The research noted that the high amount of the antioxidant polyphenols in sparkling wine help prevent deterioration of brain cells.

Opening a bottle of Champers

We will take care of this at your event however, there are two similar schools of thought on the subject:

Champagne should “sigh like a angel not scream like a whore” when opened. The other legend states it should sound like a beautiful woman farting, i.e. you should hear little to nothing.

The best way to achieve the “angel’s sigh” effect is to hold the cork firmly and twist the bottle while holding it at a slight angle.

As part of your celebration, for the ultimate in ceremony, we can help you sabre your toast’s first cork and box it up as a really chic keepsake of your day.

What about pouring?

Pour champagne with the label facing whoever you’re pouring for—it is a guarantee that they will start to salivate.

Pouring while tilting the glass will preserve most bubbles but where’s the fun in that? Pour quickly at the start so the mousse forms to the top of the glass, then wait a few seconds for it to dissipate. Keep building that suspense. Finally, gently pour to fill the glass.

We can build champagne stacks or towers for an extra element of theatre where the pour fills all the stacked coupes from one topper.

The perfect champagne stemware

The Victorian coupe – according to legend, was designed using a mould of Marie Antoinette’s left breast as a birthday present to her husband, Louis XVI. As romantic and stylish as this option is it tends to disperse, dissipate the mousse & the nose, warms the wine more quickly and over-oxygenates the wine.

We’re all used to being served Champagne in a flute, often with an etched base to encourage bubble formation. Don’t forget, Champagne is wine, too and many flutes do not allow for the surface area, which lets the wine open up and come into its own. A burgundy glass that you would drink a still Chardonnay or Pinot Noir wine from can work well to assist the aromatics of excellent Champagne.

The ritual of drinking champagne from a glass tucked inside a bride’s wedding slipper or shoe originally came from Eastern Europe and the decadent gesture was emulated by glamorous bon viveur Talulah Bankhead, most famously at The Ritz hotel and by many party animals before and since. We even have Christian Louboutin-designed crystal shoes from which you can enjoy your celebration toast.

Ideal temperature

Champagne is always served cold; its ideal drinking temperature is 7 to 9 °C (45 to 48 °F).

Some prefer to allow the wine to come back up to room temperature. In that manner, the bubbles dissipate and the wine opens up, gaining much more of it’s grape character. The last few sips are almost always divine. As with so many things of course, it’s down personal taste.

How much is enough?

Champagne is something almost no one turns down. With a steady hand, you can pour five glasses per bottle. If there’s a program for the evening, starting or finishing with a single bottle of Champagne for a party of four makes complete sense. It never hurts to have a second bottle.

A handy guide:

•Party of 4 = 1–2 bottles

•Party of 8 = 2–3 bottles

•Party of 12 = 3–5 bottles

•Party of 20 = at least a 12-bottle case, why not?

We can always help you with recommendations on drink stock for the whole of your event and offer sale or return on unopened cases.

What to look for on a label

Aside from certain words, which define sugar content, the rest of the information you’ll find on a Champagne label will include the Champagne house, a proprietary name and vintage information. Quality isn’t always referenced on the label as it is in other regions in France.

Here’s a guide to sugar levels in Champagne (from dry to sweet):

•Brut Nature = 0–3 grams of residual sugar per litre

•Extra Brut = less than 6 grams

•Brut = less than 12 grams

•Extra Sec (Dry) = between 12 and 17 grams

•Sec = between 17 and 32 grams

•Demi-sec = between 32 and 50 grams

•Doux = 50+ grams

Champagne cocktails yes or no?

Use Cremant, Prosecco or Cava to make the cocktail. Enjoy your Champagne unadulterated.

Our favourite toasts

Our best bubbly toast “Champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends!”

And our ultimate wedding toast:

Women’s faults are many,

Men have only two–

Everything they say,

And everything they do.

For more advice on wines & champagne, including how much & how best to serve it, get in touch on 0207 4280313 or fill in our contact form with details of your occasion.