This should be easy right? Simply pop the cork and start drinking, however there are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your champagne. Isabelle Tellier from Champagne Tsarine shares her tips with us.
It’s a confusing territory to enter, but once you’ve got the rules in hand for how to serve champagne, you’ll be the most impressive host at dinner!
Some of the rules differ between different cuvées but overall, they’re pretty easy to remember, and you may just have to get used to changing certain practices (raise your hand if you’ve put a spoon in a bottle of champagne to maintain the bubbliness!).
The Ideal Temperature for Champagne
Before serving, the bottle should be properly chilled, either for three hours in the fridge or at least 30 min in an ice bucket. Don’t forget to fill the bucket with some water as well to ensure it cools down. Tellier recommends between 8-10˚C for Tsarine’s Premium and Rose champagnes.
How to Store Champagne
Depending on the type of champagne you don’t need to store it as they have already been aged before being bottled and therefore don’t necessarily benefit from additional ageing.
Tsarine’s champagnes are produced to be enjoyed right away but can be kept unopened for two years. Lay the bottles horizontally in a cool, dry and dark place as heat and light can affect the taste. Ideal temperature for storing is 10-13˚Celsius.
Which Glass Should I Use?
Use a tulip-shaped champagne glass instead of flutes or coupes, as it enhances the aromas of the champagne and keeps the bubbles in. Always rinse the glasses with hot water before use and leave to drain. Do not dry them with a cloth or tea towel, as some of the fibres can stick to the glass and increase the effervescent stream of bubbles.
Many think that champagne should only be enjoyed on its own for celebratory occasions, but matching it with food is becoming more of a norm and can enhance the flavour in both the champagne and the food. For Tsarine’s cuvées, Tellier recommends the following pairings:
Tsarine Premium: a tapas spread, avocado salmon poké bowl, cheese like Abondance (mountain cheese from the French Alps), Parmesan or Gruyère de Comté from Eastern France.
Tsarine Rosé: the Rosé’s fresh fruity flavour works perfectly with a picnic spread of fresh fruit, soft cheeses and colourful macaroons, or a refreshing plate of sea bream tartare.
How to open a bottle properly
Open the wire around the muselet (the wire cage) but don’t immediately remove it. Hold the cork and the muselet together when opening. Twist the bottle, not the cork with your dominant hand, and hold the bottle at an angle.
While it’s fun to pop a bottle with great enthusiasm, a gentle hiss and discreet pop of the cork is the best way to preserve the bubbles.
How to serve it
Don’t chill the glasses in advance as it can affect the bubbles. Also don’t swirl the champagne around in your glass as you would with a glass of wine as it will reduce the fizz in the glass. Pour delicately in a champagne glass.
How long does champagne last once opened?
Depending on the brand an opened champagne bottle can last for a few days in the fridge as long as you use a champagne stopper, as it will prevent the bubbles from escaping the bottle.
The old spoon-in-the-bottle doesn’t work unfortunately. Tsarine’s champagnes are best served during the first day.
Most importantly, enjoy all of the bubbly glamour goodness that enjoying a good French champagne can bring.