Champagne 101

Raise a glass!'Tis the season… to buy champagne! Every year around the holidays it suddenly feels appropriate to always have a bottle of bubbly on hand, but there are so many varieties at different price points that it can be difficult to know which kind to get. And then once we have the bottle, what is the proper way to open, pour, and serve the champagne? We headed to the incredible Bubble Lounge in New York City where we met with Boo Killebrew who taught us everything we need to know about champagne and sparkling wine.

  • 1) Not all sparkling wines are "champagne." Only sparkling wines from the region of Champagne, France can actually be considered "champagne."
  • 2) Other popular sparkling wines besides champagne are prosecco ,which is from Italy and cava, which is from Spain. The U.S. actually produces a lot of really delicious sparkling wines that are a lot cheaper than most champagne.
  • 3) Champagne has it's own unique terminology. Brut means dry, extra brut means extra dry, sec means semi-sweet, demi-sec means sweet, and zero dosage means no sugar.
  • 4) If you are looking to buy actual champagne, make sure it says "Champagne" on the bottle. You should also look for the region and make sure it is actually from the champagne region of France. If the region is not listed, there is a good chance it is mass produced and has a higher chance of not being as good as champagne coming from a smaller house.
  • 5) Steer clear from anything under $10. We know it is tempting, but you are just asking for a major hangover.
  • 6) Flute glasses are great for serving champagne because it helps to trap the gases and keep it bubbly; however don't dismay if you don't have flute glasses. Drinking from a wine glass can actually be a great experience because you can take in more of the aromas from the champagne.
  • 7) Moet & Chandon makes Dom Perignon, so for a cheaper yet comparable champagne, get a non-vintage Moet & Chandon champagne.
  • 8) Cristal is made by Louis Roederer so for a cheaper yet comparable champagne you can try a non-vintage Roederer.
  • 9) Don't save champagne! If someone gives you a nice bottle you should drink it right away because champagne ages differently than other wines.
  • 10) The "POP" you hear when opening a bottle of champagne often signifies that the party has begun, however you are bruising the champagne when you pop the cork. Try to open it as slowly and carefully as you can by twisting the bottom. You should only hear the equivalent to a bottle of soda being opened when you open a bottle of champagne.
  • 11) To pour, insert your thumb in the hollowed out bottom of the bottle and support the rest of the bottle with your fingertips. The less surface area touched by your warm skin, the better. This will keep it as cold as possible.
  • 12) When drinking from a glass with a stem, be sure to hold the stem and not the actual glass. Again, this is to make sure it stays cold.

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