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Champagne 101: Temperature, Food Pairings, Glassware

champagne

Julie Dupouy, sommelier at The Greenhouse restaurant and for Moët Hennessy brands, shares her expert insight on getting the most from your champagne.

TEMPERATURE

When serving champagne, the first important detail is the temperature of service. Leave your champagne overnight in the fridge, at ideally 3oC or 4oC. This is especially important when opening the bottle to make sure the champagne does not bubble out. Then, ideally, it should be served between 6oC and 11oC, depending on the champagne. You can simply leave the bottle out of the fridge once opened and served, as it will likely be enjoyed before it gets too warm.

FOOD PAIRINGS

1. For a blanc de blanc, I would suggest to try oysters, scallops, ceviche or tartar of fish.

2. If you are planning to serve a vintage champagne, then I would recommend some intensely flavoured dishes based on mushrooms, warm spices, foie gras, cheese, etc.

3. A rosé champagne, even vintage, can be fantastic for some red fruit-based desserts; for example, Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

4. Finally, if you look at a champagne with a little bit more sweetness, like a demi-sec – Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, for example – it can make a delicious pairing for desserts such as caramelised tarte tatin, poached apricot with lavender honey and vanilla ice cream, and iced nougat.

GLASSWARE

I would recommend to stay away from the coupe, which might be a very pretty looking glass, but is enemy number one for champagne enjoyment. The coupe is very open and shallow, and the champagne warms up very quickly, but also gets flat much quicker. Because of its opened shape, the “nose” or aromatic  dimension of the champagne is totally lost. Finally, I always found it a balancing exercise to try to drink out of a coupe without spilling it.

The flute is a good option, as it preserves the effervescence and its slender and elegant shape brings an extra touch of magic to a table. However, once again in this glass, the aromas of the champagne are not expressed fully. I think the flute is a great option for champagne brut NV.

My preference would be a small, elegant white wine glass, especially for vintage champagne, rosé and prestige cuvées. This glass allows the champagne to show off its beautiful intensity and complexity while still retaining the effervescence. Champagne is a wine and it happens to be sparkling, but before anything it is a wine; I just think once you look at it that way, the way of serving it starts to make more sense and feels more natural. I often ask myself: Would I serve a very good white burgundy or bordeaux in a coupe or a flute?

READ MORE: The IMAGE Art Of Feasting: Champagne 101

This article originally appeared in the December issue of IMAGE magazine.

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The IMAGE Art Of Feasting: Champagne 101

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