We’ve all been there, that awkward moment when you’re presented with a drinks menu somewhere fancy and you have no idea what to order.
You know what you really want, the elegant bubbles, so you start to study the Champagne section but in a whirlwind of brut this and demi-sec that, it’s all a bit too much.
Well fear not, you don’t need to opt for the safe option of ‘house wine’ any longer – we can make you a champagne expert in mere minutes.
Take a look at the need-to-know, blagger’s guide below and prepare for a summer of sipping the good stuff…
What actually is Champagne?
Let’s get the most embarrassing question out of the way first. Champagne is a sparkling wine made in Champagne in France. In real talk, it is a bubbly, glamorous nectar that when enjoyed a little too much can lead to bad behaviour and a sore head. Ah, Champagne!
Champagne speak – what does it all mean?
You’ll most likely see the word ‘brut’ on Champagne labels. Brut means that the wine contains less than 15 grams of sugar per litre. Other variations include extra brut, which is a little drier than brut and brut zero, as well as sec and demi-sec, which is sweet and semi-sweet. Simple, right?
Knowing what to order
What we all need to know – when should you part with the big bucks? Most Champagne lists will feature the classics; Moet and Chandon, Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot or Tattinger. This lot’s bubbly goodness is worth splashing the cash on any day. You can’t go wrong with those we have suggested but you have to enjoy it so remember it’s all down to personal preference. If you’re feeling adventurous, read the bottle’s bios and go with what takes your fancy.
You’ve been saying it wrong this whole time
Moet has a hard T. A revelation, we know. So, here’s the history part for you – Moet and Chandon is a French winery, and although it’s unusual to pronounce the final T in a French word, the winery’s co-founder Claude Moet was of Dutch heritage, and pronounced the name ‘mo-wett’. So, next time you’re in a Champagne bar remember, ‘mo-wett’ is the way.
Pop the cork like a pro
If you’ve splashed out on a pricey bottle, don’t ruin your swag by having an epic fail trying to open it, spraying your crew in the process – unless you’ve just won a Grand Prix of course.
Here’s how to do it like a boss – make sure the bottle is perfectly chilled, then remove the foil and the wire. Now this is where most of us go wrong, gently twist the bottle with one hand (not the cork) whilst holding onto the cork with the other hand. Keep twisting until you feel the cork beginning to release and POP. Nailed it.
Pour the perfect serve
This one is debatable by many but we think Champagne should always be served in a flute. Scientists even say it makes it taste better as it gives off more of a ‘nose tingle’. In technical terms, the flute’s length and narrow width mean the carbon dioxide released by the Champagne bubbles rise to the top of the glass, which triggers senses in the nose and heightens the tingling sensation which comes with drinking Champagne. Who knew?!
Where to get your fizz on this summer
So now you know what you’re looking for, here are three recommendations for where to enjoy a bottle and put your new blagging skills to the test.
Edinburgh’s Juniper – a classy hotspot on Princes Street, with a reputation for its cocktails and fizz selection.
Newcastle’s Sohe – grab some of Sohe’s famous Asian-fusion food whilst you’re there, a spicy accompaniment to a glass of champs.
London’s Heights Restaurant – take in the views of the capital through the restaurant’s ‘wall of windows’ with a glass of the good stuff in hand. The restaurant even has a selection of Champagne cocktails – go on, mix it up!