Champagne is larger than life, sometimes, intimidatingly so.
We always think of champagne in relation to luxury and wealth, but that doesn’t need to be the case. It’s an undeniable drink of happiness, it’s impossible to feel flirty, fun and alive while consuming champagne.
It’s not the champagne that is intimidating, it’s the stigma surrounding it. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be a wine expert or a billionaire to enjoy champagne with confidence and style.
Isabelle Tellier, Head Wine-Maker at the second oldest Champagne house, Chanoine Frères agrees and is here to provide us with some do’s and don’ts, when it comes to bubbles.
“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!” She promises.
Tellier has been Head Wine-Maker of Chanoine Frères since 2001, and she is one of the first women to ever hold that position in a Champagne house.
To be a successful and renowned woman in a largely (still) male-dominated industry is pretty incredible, especially when it involves one of the most delicious things in life: champagne.
She began working with champagnes in 1992 and is the creator of a range of cuvées including Champagne Tsarine, which launched in Australia end of last year.
“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.”
Here is step-by-step beginners guide to drinking, pouring and caring for champagne.
Ideal temperature to serve
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 other 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.
What type of glassware?
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.
Matching food with champagne
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. Some classic pairings are oysters, soft French cheese and macaroons; you can’t go wrong serving them with any style of champagne. For a bit of extra detail, Tellier recommends some pairings to go with her very own Tsarine cuvées:
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 champagne 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 champagne
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?
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. Champagne is usually at it’s best on the same day it’s opened.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.