12 Ways You Didn’t Know You Were Drinking Champagne Wrong

Like the glass you're serving it in

The commencement of the festive season tends to bring merriment and the opportunity to indulge in equal measure.

And when those indulgences aren’t in the form of an alcohol advent calendar (Merry Christmas, indeed), they tend to take the shape of a distinctly bubbly beverage, hailing from eponymous French region of Champagne.

Given that we are enjoying it more frequently, it begs the question: are you really making the most of your champagne? To find out, we spoke to G.H. Mumm ambassador Emmanuel de Madre for all his tips on storing, pouring and drinking champagne like a pro.

Keep reading to see them all.

1. Don’t Store Your Champagne In The Fridge For Too Long

Storing your champagne in the fridge for too long is a faux-pas, de Madre explained.

“The temperature fluctuates every time the door is opened, which can affect the quality of the wine,” he said.

Ideally, you should only put the bottle in long enough for it to chill before serving (no round trips to the fridge in between!). If you’re putting it in the freezer, de Madre recommends keeping it there for no more than 15 minutes.

2. Always Open Your Champagne Chilled

After you’ve successfully implemented tip one, you are ready for tip two.

“Opening your champagne chilled will complement the aromatic profile better and will preserve the effervescence,” said de Madre.

3. Don’t Over-Chill Your Champagne

While your bubbles should be consumed at a cooler temp, you can also run the risk of over-cooling it and masking the drink’s true flavours.

“Don’t over-chill your champagne as this will hide most of the wine’s aromas,” de Madre explained. “Eight degrees should be perfect for a non-vintage.”

4. Don’t Drink Champagne From A Coupe Glass

Despite their popularity, coupe glasses aren’t actually great for drinking champagne.

“Don’t drink champagne from a coupe glass as the bubbles fade away quickly and the wine will warm too fast,” de Madre emphasised.

5. Don’t Use Flutes For Vintage Champagne

Although they are synonymous with bubbles, like coupes, flutes should not be the vessel of choice when it comes to champagne. Why? While they do make the bubbles last longer, they also prevent the sparkling wine’s aromas from opening up, which may keep you from enjoying the full depth of its flavour.

“Don’t use flutes,” de Madre said. “Instead, use a wine glass to appreciate all the aromas of the wine.”

how to drink champagne

6. Don’t Tilt Your Glass On The Side While Pouring Champagne

It’s a very easy mistake to make, but one that has big consequences when it comes to getting the most out of your champagne.

“You will risk flattening the bubbles and over-oxidising the wine,” de Madre explained.

“As we say in France, it is not beer and part of enjoying champagne is seeing the beautiful effervescence. Just keep a very slow and steady pour. You can also stop and pour twice.”

7. Don’t Hold The Bottle By The Neck While Pouring

If you want to channel your best inner sommelier, it is best to avoid holding the champagne bottle by the neck while pouring.

“You won’t have good control of the flow and it won’t do justice to the beautiful bottle,” said de Madre.

8. Don’t Pour Over 2/3 Of The Glass

Besides the fact that over-filling your glass runs the risk of you not finishing it before your champagne warms (and no one wants warm champagne), filling the glass over two-thirds makes it near impossible to inhale the aromas.

“It is not beer and you want to be able to swirl it like wine,” said de Madre.

And while you may have heard in the past that you should never swirl your champagne, de Madre says it’s not quite that simple.

“Usually we would only swirl it during tastings. It reveals more aromas but does mean some bubbles are lost,” he said.

“The cellar masters in Champagne always swirl it… We have to make a choice!”

9. Never Mix Good Champagne With Orange Juice

“Never mix good champagne with orange juice. In fact, never mix good champagne at all,” said de Madre.

Our sincerest apologies to all mimosa fans.

10. Do Not Put A Spoon In Your Champagne Bottle To Preserve The Bubbles

“Don’t leave a teaspoon in the bottle to preserve the champagne—FYI, no one has ever heard or done this in France,” said de Madre.

“You can use a champagne stopper, but don’t open the bottle with the stopper more than once as the pressure will leave very quickly. Real champagne lovers finish all their bottles anyway!”

11. Do Not Serve Vintage Champagne Too Cold

When it comes to vintage champagnes, special care must be taken while serving, especially regarding temperature.

“Don’t serve it too cold as the aromas would shrink and you won’t enjoy the whole complexity of the champagne. An old vintage should be served at around 12 degrees,” de Madre advised.

12. Add Salt To Your Ice Bucket To Chill Champagne Faster

If you are in a rush to chill your champagne, de Madre recommends adding salt to your ice and water bucket to speed up the process. He advises against the process for vintage champagnes.

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