Friday, December 31, 2010

Firewater Friday . . . Three grapes, twice fermented

Champagne . . . it’s elegant, bubbly and a little sexy. 

There are 49 million bubbles in a 750ml bottle of champagne, give or take a few.

Champagne is nothing more than wine . . . an exquisite, effervescent wine.  In order for a wine to be labeled "champagne" it must be made in the Champagne region of northeastern France.  Otherwise it’s simply a sparkling wine; although if it is made using the traditional French method it may be labeled "methode champenoise".

The pressure in a bottle of champagne is 90 pounds per square inch, about three times that in an automobile tire.

The shape of the champagne glass is important.   The glasses you see people sipping Champagne from in all the old movies is called a “coupe” glass.  Although classic and elegant, the champagne coupe is not the best choice for drinking champagne.  The design of this glass has broad exposed surface area means the wine's effervescence quickly diminishes.

Legend has it that the champagne "coupe" was modeled in the shape of Marie Antoinette's breast, using wax moulds.

Champagne should be served in a flute . . . not the musical instrument, but a slim glass which tapers slightly inwards towards the top. The shape of a champagne flute helps to contain all those fun-loving fizzies for a longer period of time; prolonging your champagne drinking pleasure. 

A champagne cork leaves the bottle at a velocity of approximately 38-40 mph, but can pop out at as fast as100 mph.

Although the answer to life, the universe and everything may be 42 . . . 45 is the magic number for champagne.  Champagne should be chilled to a temperature down to 45 F before serving and you should uncork a bottle of champagne at a 45 degree angle.  While popping the cork may be romantic and fun, spraying a $100 bottle of wine around the room seems more than a little extravagant and over-the-top.  Champagne must be siiiiiighed opened.

This is how to do it . . .

  • Remove the foil from the cork.
  • Untwist the wire restraint securing the cork.
  • Wrap the bottle's neck and cork in a dish towel.
  • Angle the bottle away from everyone.
  • Take hold of the cork with the towel and gently untwist.
  • Continue untwisting, or hold the cork in place and twist the bottle itself.
  • Slowly ease the cork out of the bottle's neck.
  • Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh
  • Listen for the pop and pour.

Champagne corks are “straight” before they are put into the bottle. The “mushroom” shape is a result of the inserted portion of the cork being compressed in the bottle. Once pulled from the bottle the lower part of that portion of the stopper (the natural cork discs) continues to expand shaping itself into a “mushroom”.


A mimosa cocktail is a lovely and refreshing way to enjoy champagne . . . any time. 

A true mimosa is made of three parts champagne and two parts orange juice served in a proper champagne glass.  For a little something special . . . as if champagne isn’t special enough . . . add a teaspoon Grand Marnier to make a Grand Mimosa.   Mmmm, yummers!

Cheers!  And Happy New Year!

"come quickly, I am tasting the stars!"

Dom Perignon

1 comment:

  1. Drinking champagne in anything other than a coupe is a complete waste of the champagne, period. Flute style glasses, due to their inherent narrow, poke-you-in-the-schnoz surface area do not allow the critically essential aromatics of at least a good to great champagne any area or openness to release themselves, therefore rendering the aromatic intake of a given champagne devoid of its full bouquet as it critically must be.
    The notion that coupe design affects a loss of effervescence is beyond laughable, unless, of course, one wants to take about thirty minutes or more to consume a single glass which, face it, is for dilettantes and poseurs, of which there is no short supply.
    Give me a great champagne, good and cold in a coupe that I am able to fully drink "toot sweet" like a real person, repeating same a few more times and leave the pretenders out in the rain where they came from.