Champagne~Not just for New Year’s Eve

28 Dec

If I had to choose one type of wine to drink for the rest of my life, it would be champagne.

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Champagne is used to ring in the New Year but why do we limit it to occasions such as weddings and holidays?  One reason is image~champagne has been marketed for decades, if not longer as a luxury product.

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It is often believed that one should only drink champagne on special occasions.  Champagne brings to mind very special events such as New Year’s Eve, valentine’s day, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and romantic dinners.  The tiny little bubbles in champagne seem to add effervescence to any personality and to make the whole world more giddy, at least temporarily.  Bubbles make champagne fun to drink and a festive celebration even more festive.

Champagne

Champagne is omnipresent in our culture. It can be recalled in movies like  Casablanca or James Bond , and there’s not a single car race that doesn’t end in  a champagne fight.  It’s believed that if you don’t christen a boat by breaking  a bottle on it, it will drown in blood. The Titanic wasn’t christened —  coincidence? I think not.

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When you buy a bottle of champagne – since it has already been aged – it’s  ready to drink.  A bottle of champagne should be put in an ice bucket 40 minutes  prior to serving or better yet, always keep it handy in the fruit drawer of your  fridge.  Champagne is best when served really cold.

The proper technique is quite simple and can be explained in five easy  steps:

1. Get rid of the thin foil covering the cork.
2. Put your hand on top of the bottle, carefully unwind the wire and  dispose of it.
3. If you are right-handed, hold firmly the cork in  your left hand and get a hold of the butt of the bottle with your right  hand.
4. To open the bottle, you need to slowly twist the bottom of  it, holding the cork tightly and not letting the cork fly out of your hand!
5. If you follow those simple steps, the bottle will give a classy POP  and you won’t lose a single drop of the precious beverage.

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You should expect to shell out between $20 and $40 for a decent bottle of  champagne.  The selection is quite vast and will satisfy most palates.   The most  common champagne is BRUT, which means dry champagne.   My favorite is a sweeter champagne such as Cook’s Spumante (Italian for “sparkling,” “foamy,” or “frothy”).  Dom  Perignon is a classic and prestigious champagne produced by Moët & Chandon ; it costs approximately $120 per bottle.

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If you are indulging in Champagne at home or with friends, remember these few simple tips to get the most enjoyment out of a bottle:

  • Be sure the bubbly is well chilled.  It it’s too warm not only will it not taste as fabulous as it should, but you will end up with an explosion of bubbles.
  • To retain that precious fizz, turn the bottle and gently release the cork, opting for a soft “pop.” (never twist the cork!) Sure, uncorking it quickly and having a shower of bubbles looks cool, but you will end up losing all of that effervescence–and isn’t that why we drink it in the first place?
  • Unless a Champagne is vintage, it’s ready to drink as soon as you buy it, and won’t improve with age. (No problem here–I’m into instant gratification.)
  • For a simple Champagne cocktail, place a sugar cube in the bottle of a flute, and add a few drops of bitters (Angostura are traditional, but I like to use orange, lemon, grapefruit or lavender.)  Top with Champagne, and garnish with a lemon twist.

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I hope you will join me in a resolution to enjoy your champagne all year-long and please don’t forget to make a toast: A  votre sant.

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2 Responses to “Champagne~Not just for New Year’s Eve”

  1. Pati hinkel December 29, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I LOVED those pictures of you drinking champagne……such memories! Happy New Year!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Julie December 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Jacks, we will always share our love for champagne! Happy New Year, give Bill a kiss for me 🙂

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