How to properly enjoy your Champagne this summer, as told by experts
Francoise Peretti, Director of the Champagne Bureau UK, tells Tempus how to serve the perfect glass of bubbly
Outdoor entertaining season has begun and this year, it will be more popular than ever. With a sense of celebration in Britain’s parks and gardens this Spring, it may be time to brush up on some outdoor entertaining ideas so you can head into warmer weather with tips that will wow your guests.
For readers looking for ways to elevate their picnic, Francoise Peretti, Director of the Champagne Bureau UK, has endowed us with a series of top tips on choosing the perfect Champagne style for picnics and alfresco dining. For example, did you also know there is a way to chill Champagne to the perfect temperature in just 30 minutes if outdoors without access to a fridge? Nor did we!
Chilling your Champagne
The best temperature to serve Champagne is 8-10ºC, which is around the same temperature as the cellar where the champagne producer would have first stored it. For convenience when outdoor dining, the best and quickest way is to get a bucket and fill it with water, ice, and a healthy dash of table salt. This works far quicker than if you just use ice as the water and salt conduct the cold faster, and should take around 30 mins to chill to optimum temperature.
How to open and serve Champagne like a pro
To open a bottle of Champagne, take foil off, untwist wire cage, keep your thumb firmly on the cork and twist the bottle (not the cork) anti-clockwise. Regarding the shape of the glass, opt for tulip-shaped glasses rather than narrow flutes, to enable the wine to breathe and aromas to develop.
Charcuterie & savoury pastries – Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Glorious cold cuts and artisanal charcuterie accompanied by a luxurious selection of savoury pastries are a traditional picnic staple. For the perfect partner to a range of meat and poultry, choose a Blanc de Noirs Champagne (Vintage or Non-Vintage). Made from 100% black grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Meunier), its backbone will match more powerful flavours and balanced acidity will cut through rich fat, enhancing the taste with delicate red fruit on the palate.
Pescatarian delights – Blanc de Blancs Non-Vintage Champagne
For sushi and smoked salmon lovers, a zingy and refreshing Non-Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne makes for the ultimately uplifting choice for an afternoon in the sun. Made from 100% chardonnay grapes, in its youthful Non-Vintage radiance, expect floral aromas of white flowers, accompanied by citric notes of lemon and grapefruit, with flavours of orchard fruits, such as green apple and pears. Maybe even a hint of tropical fruit aromas, such as lychee.
Vegetarian feast – Vegan Brut Non-Vintage Champagne
Although it’s not widely known, the Champagne region offers a wide range of vegan Champagne. Over the past decades, a large number of producers have made their production process strictly vegan, across a vast range of styles – making Champagne the ideal choice if you prefer to be plant based. A Brut Non-Vintage, also known as a ‘Classic Blend’ Champagne, will be the flagship style of the brand you choose – their pride and joy: effervescent, elegant, and undoubtedly a worthy match for whichever dish you choose.
Cheese, nuts & fruit – Rosé Champagne
In addition to being the most Instagrammable of them all, Rosé Champagne is a wonderful match to soft goats and ewes’ cheeses. For a fruity wine that screams “summer!”, choose a Rosé Champagne with red fruit flavours of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the nose, you might also be treated to heady hazelnut aromas. This versatile style is fabulous with poultry, salmon, and berry-led desserts. For those of you who are cheese-mad, try focaccia or bruschetta layered with goats’ cheese and succulent figs.
Sweet treats – Demi-sec Champagne
For those among us who prefer sweet to savoury, choose a Demi-Sec Champagne to match harmoniously with sweet pastries, chocolate and desserts. A lesser- known style currently growing in popularity, Demi-sec Champagne has a slightly sweeter dosage than Brut, that gives it a softness on the palate to match creamy, sweet or rich dishes.