Seven Essential Tips For Serving Champagne

These are some essential tips for serving Champagne or any of the many delicious alternatives such as Italy's Prosecco and Franciacorta, Spain’s Cava and the sparkling wines of California. 1) Temperature The ideal temperature for serving Champagne is around 48°-50°F. The best way to chill Champagne is to place it in a bucket with ice and water for around 30 minutes, or in a refrigerator for a few hours. Most refrigerators are set to 35°-38°F, which means a bottle straight out of the refrigerator will be too cold to appreciate fully. Far too much Champagne is served frigid, at which point the flavors will be totally unexpressive. If you are opening Champagne straight from the refrigerator, the best choice is to open it and then let it warm slightly before serving. 2) Remove the Foil and Cage Remove the foil wrapper and gently untwist the wire cage off the cork, holding the bottle upright. Use your thumb to keep the cork from releasing unexpectedly. 3) Open Gently Firmly grip the cork with one hand and gently twist the bottle from its base with the other hand, while keeping the bottle at an angle and pointed away from you and your guests. The cork should emerge from the bottle softly, with a whisper, not a bang. Powerful Champagnes and those from tightly wound vintages (1996 comes to mind) will benefit from being opened an hour or two in advance. 4) Choose the Right Glass The standard flute is in reality a poor choice for Champagne because it constricts a wine's aromas and flavors, much in the way a dress or suit that is two sizes small is uncomfortable. All you need to enjoy Champagne is a standard white wine glass or one of the more contemporary flared flutes that are becoming increasingly popular. For Champagnes with a high percentage of Pinot Noir, including Rosés, I often prefer a larger glass, such as a Pinot stem, which allows for the breath of the wines to come through. Make sure your glasses are clean and polished to get the purest bubbles. 5) Serving Hold your glass at an angle and pour a small amount of Champagne into the glass. Let the foam subside, then pour a little bit more into the glass. This will help preserve the bubbles. Champagne warms quickly, so I prefer to fill glasses to about a third or half way. If you are using a larger stem a smaller pour is better, just as you would do with a good red wine. 6) And Beyond… While Champagne is of course a great way to kick off a celebratory evening, it is also a fabulous and versatile wine at the dinner table. For a truly decadent experience, try serving a progression of Champagnes over dinner. 7) Selection tips These are some of my favorites wines to ring in the New Year, including a few budget-friendly choices from Italy, Spain and California. --Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Krug

Krug Collection Brut Champagne 1990

Delectable Wine
9.7

Krug's just-released 1990 Collection is magnificent. Remarkably fresh for a 26 year-old wine, the 1990 Collection captures the Krug house style at its very best... (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Matt, Sam and 29 others liked this
Champagne Spy

Champagne Spy

The bottle shows 1989 but your review is for the 1990 ...

Agrapart & Fils (Pascal Agrapart)

Terroirs Grand Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Delectable Wine
9.3

The NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Terroirs is brisk, salivating and full of energy... This is another strong showing. Dosage is 5 grams/liter. Disgorged: June 2015. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Julia, DAD and 13 others liked this

Taittinger

Comtes de Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Chardonnay 2006

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2006 Comtes de Champagne is striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004... (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Matt, DAD and 14 others liked this

Unidentified

We are identifying this wine.

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2006 Dom Pérignon is a beautifully balanced, harmonious Dom Pérignon that strikes an incredibly appealing stylistic middle ground... (Antonio Galloni, Vinous — 2 years ago

Valentino, "Odedi" and 8 others liked this

Nino Franco

Rustico Prosecco di Valdobbiadene

Delectable Wine
9.0

Jasmine and iris on the nose, complicated by minty and earthy twists. Then rich and creamy with hints of sweet spices and earth tones along with ripe yellow fruit...This is Franco’s “premium entry-level” Prosecco; though it carries no vintage on the label, Nino Franco always places the vintage on the cork, and this is a 2015 wine. (Ian D'Agata, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Krysten, Olin and 11 others liked this

Jacquesson & Fils

Cuvée No. 738 Extra Brut Champagne Blend

Delectable Wine
9.3

The Jacquesson’s Cuvée No. 738 is stellar. Bright, focused and finely cut, the 738 impresses for its energy and overall vibrancy....This is a great showing from a Champagne that consistently over-delivers relative to its peers. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Sasha, Amir and 12 others liked this

Louis Roederer

Cristal Brut Champagne Chardonnay Pinot Noir Blend 2007

Delectable Wine
9.7

Long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon has produced yet another in a string of superb Champagnes with the 2007 Cristal. Rich, powerful and enveloping, the 2007 takes hold of all the senses and never lets up... (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

DAD, Annette and 14 others liked this
Kyle Katterjohn

Kyle Katterjohn

I could drink it everyday in the summer

Raventos i Blanc

De la Finca Reserva Macabeo-Xarel-lo-Parellada 2011

Delectable Wine
9.2

Walks a fine line between richness and delicacy, finishing extremely long and emphatically stony. This bottling is consistently one of Spain's finest and most complex sparkling wines – and this year's release is no exception. It's one of greatest bubbly values in the world, too. (Josh Raynolds, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Beth, Mika and 12 others liked this
John Howard

John Howard Influencer Badge

We always love this wine!

Vilmart & Cie

Cuvée Rubis 1er Cru Brut Rosé Champagne

Delectable Wine
9.1

The NV Brut Rosé Cuvée Rubis is soft, open-knit and also light on its feet, all qualities that make it a fabulous choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Disgorged: October 2015. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

Taylor, Michael and 7 others liked this

Deutz

Amour de Deutz Brut Champagne Blend 2006

Delectable Wine
9.4

The 2006 Brut Rosé Amour de Deutz has become quite delicate over the last year, even if traces the powerful exuberance it showed as a younger wine remain... Disgorged: March 10, 2015. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous) — 2 years ago

DAD, Michael and 5 others liked this