We all love a nice bottle of bubbly. Champagne is recognised as one of the best wines I the world, with only the Italian sparkling white wine Prosecco providing serious competition to it in terms of which is the best sparkling white.
But did you know that there are a lot of mistakes that people make when it comes to Champagne? From the way they pour it to the way they think about it, there are a lot of fairly common blunders that you need to avoid.
Mistake #1 – Assuming All Sparkling White Wines are Champagnes
Even in today’s world, when Prosecco is the more popular of the two, many people still automatically think Champagne when they think of sparkling white wines.
This is understandable, to an extent. Champagne was the first sparkling white and it attained a high level of prestige and popularity long before any other varieties did. It’s also associated with celebrations and general success.
But the simple fact is that Champagne is just one in a long list of great sparkling white wines. Granted, it’s one of the most famous of this type of drink. But it’s not the only one by any means.
Mistake #2 – Spending Too Much on a Bottle
Most people see Champagne as a prestigious wine. As a result, they automatically think that they have to spend a lot of money to get a good bottle. They’ll head to a shop or speak to a wine dealer and won’t think twice about spending lots of money on a single bottle.
But you don’t have to go the expensive route if you want to enjoy a good Champagne. In fact, there are plenty available that are as affordable as the regular wines that you drink.
Moreover, don’t make the mistake of assuming that a higher price tag guarantees a better quality product. It’s worth researching the producer and what people are saying about the wine before spending any money. In some cases, you’ll find that a less expensive bottle of Champagne is actually of higher quality than the one you were considering.
Mistake #3 – Swirling
What’s the first thing that you do when you drink a glass of red wine?
For many of us, swirling is the first step in the wine tasting experiences. Through swirling, we get a better look at the colours in the wine, as well as its legs. This technique also helps more air get to the wine, which releases more of its flavours.
However, swirling is a big mistake when it comes to Champagne drinking. If you swirl a glass of Champagne, you force the bubbles to disappear, creating a flat drink. The carbonated bubbles achieve what swirling does with other wines, so allow the wine to sit and drink it without any swirling.
Mistake #4 – Cooling it Too Much
We’ve all seen bottles of Champagne delivered in buckets of ice. That’s all well and good, but it leads to the mistaken belief that you should refrigerate Champagne all of the time.
Popping a bottle in the fridge for several days or weeks before opening it will completely change the character of the wine. Instead, it’s best to keep the bottle in a cool and dark location until a day before you’re going to serve it. Only then should you pop it in the fridge. This ensures the wine maintains its original texture and character, while also cooling the wine to the ideal temperature before serving.
Mistake #5 – Popping the Cork
This is more of a safety issue than anything else. Popping the cork may look great at the time, but it also means you lose control. The cork could fly anywhere, which may lead to unexpected injuries or broken objects.
However, there is a more practical reason for why you shouldn’t pop a Champagne bottles cork. The process involves shaking the bottle until the fizz causes the cork to fly out. This means you lose a lot of the wine before you’ve even had the chance to drink it. Moreover, that shaking has the same effect as swirling in that it makes the wine flat.
Simply put, popping the cork is all about showing off. Avoid it if you actually want to enjoy your bottle of Champagne.
Mistake #6 – Drinking Too Fast
It’s so easy to take big swigs of any sparkling white wine. They feel lighter than other types of wine, which means you don’t have to worry about drinking too much all at once.
But we all know that taking huge swigs of any wine prevents you from really exploring the wine’s characteristics. You’re just pouring as much of it down your throat as possible, rather than savouring the experience. Take little sips and let the wine explore your mouth. You’ll thank us for it later when you develop a greater appreciation of the flavours in your glass of wine.
Mistake #7 – Using Champagne Flutes
“How can using a Champagne flute be a mistake?” we hear you cry. They’re specifically designed for the drink.
That they may be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use them, especially for more complex Champagnes. In fact, it’s often best to use a glass with a wider rim, such as one that you’d use for a regular white wine. This allows the Champagne to offer up its full range of aromas and flavours, though it does mean that the wine may go flat a touch quicker than when it’s in a flute.
We guess it all comes down to what you want out of the Champagne. If you want the bubbles to fizz for longer, use a flute. But you should go for a wider glass if you want the Champagne to express every flavour and aroma that it has.
The Final Word
Those are seven mistakes that you need to avoid if you’re going to get the most out of your Champagne. Have you made any of them? Let us know in the comments section below.