How to Serve Champagne

Serving champagne with style — removing the cork quietly, cooling the wine to right temperature, and to keep it in the glass and off your guests — is not a natural gift. It requires a little dexterity, concentration, and a good dose of practice.

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Champagne should be served in long-stemmed flutes or tulip shaped glasses. These are designed to enhance the flow of bubbles to the crown and to concentrate the aromas of the wine. Never chill or ice the glass as it would take away from the enjoyment of the wine. Incidentally, since the surface texture of crystal is rougher than ordinary glass, more bubbles form on these glasses.

What one drinks champagne out of has often been dictated by fashion. The champagne coupe or saucer-shaped glass, while very popular, was never designed for drinking champagne. It is unstable and does not allow you to fully appreciate the benefits of the wine. There is a legend that it was modelled from the bosom of Marie-Antoinette. Hugh Johnson states that this is not entirely without foundation. "The Sèvres porcelain factory did take a cast from this august model and produced four detailed white bowls that were mounted on elaborate bases of three goat's heads to adorn the Queen's Dairy Temple at the Château de Rambouillet near Versailles. The dairy still exists; as does one of the four coupes."

 "I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I'm thirsty." – Madam Lilly Bollinger

Champagne is to be served cold at about 43 to 48°F (7°C). In this range the smell and taste of the wine can be fully appreciated. This temperature can be achieved by placing the unopened bottle in an ice bucket — one-half ice and one-half water — for 20 to 30 minutes. Or, you may refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours. The refrigerator temperature is too cold for the bottle to be left in there for extended periods. It should never be placed in the freezer.

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