Nothing says celebrate like a glass of Champagne! It will soon be time for a cork-popping night of food and fizz, as we bid farewell to another year and usher in 2017.
We asked Aimee Kellen, Moët Hennessy Champagne Portfolio Manager, for some expert tips and advice on how to have the best bubbles for New Year’s. Here’s what you need to know about Champagne before the bubbly starts to flow and the fun begins…
What is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?
Firstly, Champagne such as Moët & Chandon, can only be produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. This is legally protected by the EU and may only refer to sparkling wines made according to specific criteria in the Champagne area.
And why is this region so carefully protected you may ask? Because it’s the region’s ‘terroir’ which makes Champagne production such an art – the notion that each wine is a product of a unique set of conditions (such as climate, soil and local wine making traditions developed over centuries) whose combined influence makes any single wine different from wines produced elsewhere.
P.S. There is no such thing as French Champagne, all Champagne is French!
How do the difference in styles, e.g. brut, demi-sec, sec, etc., find expression in terms of taste and body?
Brut Champagnes such as the Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut as well as the Moët & Chandon Imperial Rose can be served throughout the meal, from aperitif to dessert. Moet Imperial pairs very well with white fish and white fruits, while Moët & Chandon Imperial Rose pairs really well with simple, intense, colourful flavours, such as red meat and fresh red-fleshed fruits.
In our demi-sec range, we have Moët Nectar and Moët Ice. The main difference is that these wines are sweeter as they have a higher dosage than the Brut offerings.
Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial is an exciting new innovation. This groundbreaking wine, with powerful fruit flavours, is the world’s first-ever champagne specifically created to be enjoyed on ice, and is made especially for daytime social gatherings in warm weather destinations – perfect for summer sun-downers!
|MOËT ICE: THE PERFECT SERVE
Served over ice in large cabernet-style glasses that enhance the crisp, fresh experience, Moët Ice Impérial can be personalised according to taste preferences with garnishes including mint leaves, a slice of cucumber, lime or white grapefruit zest, a thin slice of ginger, or red fruits.
For more inspiration, visit Moet.com.
Does Champagne have a recommended serving temperature?
This is dependent on the type of Champagne you are enjoying. We recommend serving Moët & Chandon Imperial around 8°C but our Grand Vintage closer to 9°C.
What’s the best way to open a bottle of Champagne?
Place the Champagne bottle in an ice bucket for about 15 minutes. Then, take the bottle out and unfasten the wire cage without removing it completely, while keeping the cork in place with your thumb. Grasp the base of the bottle and twist it gently away from the cork (rather than twisting the cork away from the bottle). Gently remove the cork. Fill each glass two-thirds full (ladies first, of course…), and watch your guests enjoy the magic of Moët!
How do you get a good flow of bubbles – and more importantly, preserve them?
All you need to do is ensure a good temperature for the bottle. The rest our cellar masters have taken care of with the craftsmanship and precision that has gone into the development of each bottle of Moët.
What are some advantages of serving champagne in flute-shaped glassware?
Flutes are synonymous with Champagne, and it feels fabulous to hold one in your hand – like you truly are celebrating success in a glamorous way. Our Cellar Master, Benoit Gouez, believes that Champagne is actually best enjoyed in bigger glassware, such as the White Wine Glasses or large Champagne Flutes found in Le Creuset’s range, allowing your nose to really go inside the glass and explore the complexity of the wine and the aromas.
Should you hold your glass by the stem or by the bowl?
It’s best to hold your glass at the stem as this reduces the impact on temperature. Champagne’s nose and taste change as the temperature changes. Also, it prevents finger marks, so your glass continues to sparkle!
Is there a proper way to appreciate a glass of Champagne – should it be swirled and inhaled before sipping?
We say it’s always important to savour the moment, notice your environment, celebrate the company you’re with and then pop the bottle! It’s really about the enjoyment on the nose, appreciating the aromas, and the feast for your eyes – delight in the colour in your glass and the seduction on the palate as you take your first sip!
Finally, any top tips for pairing foods with bubbly?
Champagne really is the perfect accompaniment to many meals. We usually recommend light fresh fish for our Moët & Chandon Imperial and then brighter bolder ingredients for the Rose, such as red meat. If you are just relaxing in the sunshine by the pool, some raspberries and blueberries and a glass of Moet Ice Imperial is a perfect pairing!
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