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12.27.2011

new year's guide to champagne ~ select, chill, pop & pour



| SELECT |

I must confess my darlings, Champagne is my other great love, and I'd like to tell you a few little things about this love of mine.  As I'm sure you have your preferences (mine is Veuve Clicquot), when selecting this nectar of the Gods for your New Years celebration, you must know some of the basics. 

  •  A wine can only be labeled as champagne if it is made in the glamorous champagne region of Northeastern France.
  • To be called champagne, it must be made from pinot noir, pinot meunier or chardonnay grapes grown in this glamorous region.
  • True champagne, as opposed to other sparkling wines, gets it bubbles by undergoing the fermentation process, not once, but twice.  The first in barrels and then again in bottles.  
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| CHILL |
  • The temperature of champagne is highly important because it is the temperature that determines the rate at which bubbles in champagne are released.  A bottle should never be opened at room temperature as it will quickly froth up and go flat.  Remember this, flat champagne, is sad champagne.
  • In chilling, forgo refrigeration.  A bucket of ice and water (never just ice) is the best and quickest way to chill a bottle of champagne.  
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| POP & POUR |
  • Aside from the excitement of popping a bottle of champagne for the mere merriment, if you want to open and pour, simply score around the base of the wire cage and gently loosen the bottom of the cage, but do not remove.
  • Hold the base of the bottle with your other hand and twist both ends slowly in opposite directions.  As soon as you feel pressure forcing the cork out, try to push it back in while continuing the twisting ever more gently until cork is released from the bottle with a *sigh*, not a bang! 
  • For pouring purposes, do not tilt the glass even though it is tempting, but top up each glass to two-thirds full, and let the bubbles do the rest.  

Enjoy my darlings...As Dom Perignon said at the moment he discovered champagne:

"COME QUICKLY, I AM TASTING THE STARS!"

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(instructions courtesy this is glamorous)

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