Champagne Week Part IV – Drinking

December 30, 2010

Now the champagne has been riddled, disgorged, dosaged, capped, and cellared, it is time to drink it!

First, a little education about the labeling of champagne to help you know what you are buying. According to Tim Vandergrift, the following labels correspond to a given amount of sugar:

  • Brut Natural or Brut Zéro (less than 3 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Brut (less than 15 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Extra Sec or Extra Dry (12 to 20 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Sec (17 to 35 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Demi-Sec (33 to 50 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Doux (more than 50 grams of sugar per liter)
  • Tim’s Note: “If 50 grams of sugar per liter sounds sweet to you, keep in mind that cola is about the equivalent of 12% residual sugar, or 150+ grams per liter. Wow!”

I did review a book a while back titled The Wine Club by Maureen Christian Petrosky. It is a “guide to learning about wine with friends,” in which she spends an entire chapter talking about champagne, which would also help you to become more familiar and comfortable with it.

To serve champagne, because it is a sweet wine, it should be chilled first. The chilling process also helps retain carbonation once opened.

To open a bottle of champagne, the wire rack should be removed and then cork held while the bottle is angled so that the cork is not pointing at anyone. The bottle is then rotated and pulled away from the cork instead of pulling or pushing on the cork. This prevents the cork from shooting off, and it reduces the risk of wasting the champagne. Spraying the champagne is only something rich athletes do. Champagne can also be opened via the Sabrage method, which actually breaks the neck of the bottle instead of removing the cork. You can’t reuse the bottle after that.

Champagne is then poured into a glass while holding the glass at an angle to preserve the most bubbles. Pouring directly down will create a “mousse”, which is much like getting a head of foam on beer.

Pairing champagne with food:

Here are some posts in which I have mentioned pairing champagne or sparkling wine with cheese:

Additional champagne/sparkling wine and cheese pairing suggestions:

Some other artisan sparkling cider:

I’ve also had a sparkling pinot noir from the Rusty Grape Vineyard.

Further Readings:

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One Response to “Champagne Week Part IV – Drinking”


  1. […] Further Reading: Champagne Week Part IV – Drinking. […]


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