Swirl, Sniff, Sip: Champagne

Did you know that a bottle of champagne is opened every 10 seconds in France?

Did you know that a monk named Dom Pérignon created champagne by accident?

Dom was making wine, but didn’t complete the fermentation process prior to bottling it, so he trapped carbon dioxide inside the wine bottles and created what we know and love as champagne. Yippee!

Champagne is developed exclusively in a region about two hours drive from Paris and most champagnes are produced from three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. My favorite are rosé champagnes that are produced with a bit of red wine added for color.

Contrary to popular culture, there’s more than just Cristal, Moet & Chandon or Dom Pérignon to choose from, in fact the vintages and varieties of champagnes are endless: from dry to sweet, to warm and rich, to deep and sophisticated.

Here are a few champagne drinking tips:

  • The preferred champagne flute is a tulip-shaped glass with a stem (above).
  • When serving champagne keep the vintage very cold in a champagne bucket filled with ice and water.
  • Try not to hold your champagne glass where your hand warms the vintage, but rather hold the stem of the glass and sip to your heart’s content.

Here’s my list of preferred champagnes at every price point:

Canard Duchene ($50)
Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne Réserve ($55)
Domaine Chapuy Brut Champagne ($35)
G.H. Mumm Brut Champagne Cordon Rouge ($35)
Heidsieck Monopole Brut Rosé ($45)
Krug Grand Cuvee ($180)
Krug Clos d’Abonnay ($3000; crazy expensive, but I wanted you to know about it)
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose ($80)
Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle ($200)
Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon ($160)
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Cuvee ($200)
Roederer Cristal ($200)
Ruinart Blanc de Blanc ($70)
Salon le Mesnil Blanc de Blanc ($200)
Taitinger Comtes de Champagne ($160)

Photos: MS Living

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