Removing the cork quietly, cooling the wine to right temperature, and to keep it in the glass and off your guests - is not a natural gift. It requires a little dexterity, concentration, and a good dose of practice.
Champagne should be served in long-stemmed flutes or tulip shaped glasses. These are designed to enhance the flow of bubbles to the crown and to concentrate the aromas of the wine. Never chill or ice the glass, as it would take away from the enjoyment of the wine. Incidentally, since the surface texture of crystal is rougher than ordinary glass, more bubbles form on these glasses.
Champagne is to be served cold at about 43 to 48°. In this range the smell and taste of the wine can be fully appreciated. This temperature can be achieved by placing the unopened bottle in an ice bucket - one-half ice and one-half water - for 20 to 30 minutes. Or, you may refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours. The refrigerator temperature is too cold for the bottle to be left in there for extended periods. It should never be placed in the freezer.
The champagne cork is not a toy. There is up to 90 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure behind it, thus making it a formidable missile. It helps if the champagne is properly chilled - at 45°F the gas is reduced one atmosphere of pressure - and try to avoid shaking it as much as possible before opening it.
Before pouring, the neck should be wiped with a clean linen. Then begin by pouring a little - an inch or so - into everyone`s glass allowing the froth to settle. Then go around and top up to about two-thirds. This will prevent any frothing over.
The correct way to pour a bottle of champagne is to hold the base firmly in one hand with the thumb in the punt and the fingers spread out along the barrel of the bottle.
Once opened, a bottle of champagne need not be consumed in one sitting. If properly closed - inexpensive champagne stoppers are made just for this purpose - and it is placed in a refrigerator, it should be good for another "bubbling" for up to several days. The handle of a silver spoon left dangling into the neck of the bottle will keep the wine sparkling for a few hours.
Only remove enough of the foil to be able to loosen or remove the twisted-wire hood. It is wise to keep a finger or thumb over the cork at this point as it could pop out of its own accord. If the cork is loose, remove it carefully with the wire hood. Most often though, the cork has to be eased out.
To do this, hold the bottle away from you and anyone else, at a 45-degree angle. It is prudent to place the mouth of the bottle nearest the first champagne glass to be filled in case the removal of the cork is mishandled and the wine begins to gush out of the bottle. Hold the cork and gently turn the bottle in one direction.
Famous Champagne Quotes and Toasts
I drink champagne when I"m happy and when I"m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I"m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I"m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I"m thirsty."
Madam Lilly Bollinger
"I drink champagne when I win, to celebrate... and I drink champagne when I lose, to console myself."
"To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with."
"To temperance... in moderation".
"Wine improves with age - I like it the older I get".
"May you live as long as you want:And may you never want as long as you live."
"Here`s hoping that you live forever... And mine is the last voice you hear."