Monthly Archives: November 2013

Champagne! How to Pour, Pair and Enjoy Veuve Clicquot

istock_000003631577xsmallTo be sure, champagne is the beverage of choice during the holidays, but do you know at what temperature it should be served? How should it be stored? What is the difference between vintage and non-vintage Champagne? Veuve Clicquot, the esteemed French winemaker, answers these questions and more.

What is the difference between a vintage and a non-vintage Champagne?
By law in Champagne, France, you cannot display a year on the label of a bottle unless all the grapes which make up the Champagne in the bottle have been sources from one single harvest, in one single year. This is known as a vintage. Wine connoisseurs seek vintage champagnes; non-vintage blends are not as attractive and should never go for more than 10% over the regular current price, according to Veuve Clicquot.

Why buy a magnum?
Magnums, which are twice the size of a regular bottle (750 ml), are optimal for aging wine: during the aging process, the wine is “breathing” even through the cork.

Best vintages
According to Veuve Clicquot, the best vintages in Champagne since the turn of the 20th century, include the following years (from most recent to oldest); 1998, 1996, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1985, 1979, 1976, 1969, 1969, 1955, 1949, 1947, 1943, 1934, 1929, 1921, 1918, and 1904.

Pouring temperature
The pouring temperature of Champagne will vary depending on the kind you will be serving. Young non-vintage champagne, with no year on the label, should be poured around 8 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit). Mature wines, on the other hand, such as vintage Champagne, should be poured between 12 to 14 degrees Celsius (54 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pairing Champagne with food
What can Champagne be served along with? Champagne goes well with pasta salads, sea food, oysters, shrimps, light fishes and antipasti. It also goes well with a cheese course as well as with many desserts.

How long can you keep Champagne?
Veuve Clicquot says non-vintage champagne should be enjoyed upon release, but may be stored for up to two or three years. Vintage Champagne can age longer; from 10 to 25 years depending on the style of each vintage.

How to store Champagne
Veuve Clicquot recommends Champagne be stored in the same manner as any regular fine wine. It should be kept at a cool and continuous temperature, which is ideally 10 to 12 degrees Celsius (50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit) or at most between 7 to 15 degrees Celsius (45 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, Veuve Clicquot recommends a high humidity (over 75%), good ventilation and darkness to create the best conditions.

What is the best way to open a bottle of Champagne?
Remove the foil and the wire cage. Next, slowly twist the cork back and forth about a quarter of an inch, while allowing the pressure inside the bottle to force it up. Do not pull the cork out of the bottle; it should be gently released.

Drink the wine; Leave the Cork

article-picture_2013-10-22-16-46-286027Opening a great bottle of wine is always a huge pleasure and a tragic loss. You have been waited a couple of decades before drinking this Grand Cru Classé of Bordeaux and you will only be able to enjoy it one single night. Indeed, every time you open a bottle you are doomed to finishing it within the following hours. If you do not, the wine will get oxidized and will lose its flavors.

Coravin’s Wine Access System 1000 has just put an end to this curse. Thanks to a very accurate method, close to surgery, this revolutionary bottle opener will suck up a small quantity of wine, the equivalent of a single glass for example, without damaging the whole bottle.

The bottle opener took several years to be designed and be truly efficient. The team that made Coravin’s Wine Access System 1000 was even led by a former rocket scientist.

But how did they manage to elaborate a system enabling you to serve wine without popping the cork?

The whole system pretty much looks like an average sophisticated bottle opener. Except that the traditional corkscrew has been removed and replaced with a thin, hollow needle. When you push it into the bottle, it would release a small dose of argon inside the bottle’s chamber. This pressurizes the content to the point where the wine is forced up the needle and out of the bottle. No air could have got into the bottle during the process. When you are done, the cork would just fill up the little hole naturally. No air has penetrated in the bottle during the process. Your wine is safe and ready to be opened days, weeks or years after.

This new bottle opener arose a lot of attention in the wine-lovers community. Wealthy wine drinkers will not be afraid of the moment they will open their Château Lafite Rothschild or Château Margaux anymore. One bottle can be served on several special occasions.
Moreover, luxurious restaurants immediately showed enthusiasm. Usually, they could only serve one wine of exception to their clients. Now they can serve a larger selection of glasses of great wines to them.

Yet, the Coravin’s Wine Access System is reserved to a small community of people, since it costs about $300. But considering the current prices of Grands Crus Classés, Coravin’s Wine Access System will sound acceptable to the owners of such wines and will make them enjoy the wines way more than expected.