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Care for those bubbles: How to Store Champagne, Chill Champagne, Serve Champagne

Once you’ve carefully selected your champagnes – or allowed Henri to select them for you – you, your friends and guests will get the greatest enjoyment of them if you know how to store champagne, chill champagne and serve champagne. Read on for everything you need to know about the proper care handling of your beautiful bubbly.

Champagne is more sensitive to temperature and light than most other wines.  For that reason, it is typically bottled in a light-resistant, dark green glass.  Champagne should be stored between 40 and 60 F and may be kept upright or horizontally.

Ideally non-vintage Champagne – those with no year printed on the label – should be chilled to 40-45 degrees to bring out the flavor of the wine. This temperature can be attained by placing the bottle in a refrigerator for a couple of hours or a freezer for 15 minutes.  Finally, the classic way to chill a bottle of Champagne is to place it in an ice-bucket, half filled with ice, half with water, for 20 minutes.

Vintage Champagne should be served slightly warmer, at 54 to 57 F. Colder temperatures stun the taste buds, so you won't get your money's worth if you serve ice-cold vintage bubbly.

Serving Champagne

  • Place the glass on a table, or ask someone to hold it for you.
  • Place your right hand at the base of the bottle with your thumb placed into the depression on the bottom (called the punt) and balance the front of the neck on the side of the glass, supported by your left hand.
  • Try to tilt the glass to its side (if you can). This way, when you pour the champagne, the champagne will hit the side of the glass, reducing the speed at which it hits the base of the glass, thus maintaining the bubbly texture.
  • Pour the wine onto the side of the glass, not onto the base.
    • Wait till the bubbles subside and then continue pouring to fill the glass. This may take up to 4 or 5 pauses in a Champagne flute shaped glass.
  • Twist the bottle as you remove it from the side of the glass to remove any remaining Champagne on the edge of the bottle.

Flutes per bottle: 5-6

Toasting Trivia: Legend has it that the custom of touching glasses evolved from concerns about poisoning. By one account, clinking glasses together would cause each drink to spill over into the others.

"Let me be your personal chef de cave. Sit back, relax, and I'll choose for you."


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