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Champagne tasting

Simple rules for Champagne tasting.
Before drinking Champagne, you have to taste it. In a restaurant, for instance, the host or hostess (women have an intuitive talent for wine tasting) is expected to nose and taste the Champagne, if only briefly, before nodding their approval to the sommelier or maybe expressing their reservations. The same applies when serving Champagne at home.

Tasting is described in detail in the oenology lesson. At its simplest, tasting enables you to form an opinion about the Champagne based on an unhurried appreciation of its sensory impact. For this to be possible, Champagne should be served chilled but not too cold (no colder than 6°C and preferably around 12°C). The right glass is also essential as is remembering to fill it only one-third full.

Drinking Champagne

Having duly tasted your Champagne, how you drink it is up to you — slowly or quickly, taking little sips or big gulps. There are no hard and fast rules here since it ultimately depends on the occasion. Sometimes circumstances demand that you knock your glass back in one (what the French call sabler le Champagne). Otherwise it’s probably best to savour the Champagne one sip at a time, prolonging the pleasure as you would for any other great wine.

Between meals, Champagne tastes best when accompanied by dry biscuits. Serve a Brut Champagne with plain, savoury biscuits (nothing too spicy), walnuts, green olives or precut Gruyère cubes. With a Sec or Demi-Sec Champagne, go for sweet biscuits, preferably Fossier Rose de Reims mini-biscuits.