Belfast Telegraph

Add a touch of sparkle to your tipple with a glass of bubbly

Everything you need to know to get the most from your glass of Champagne this summer. By Sam Wylie-Harris

Summer is the season for Champagne. OK, so we like to drink it all year round, but there's something about a cool glass of bubbles on a warm day.

At the Wimbledon Championships (July 3-16) alone, some 29,000 bottles of Champagne will be quaffed (we're assuming by spectators, not the players...) Imagine the amount we'll get through at the parties and barbecues during the rest of summer.

To get you in the mood for some serious fizz sipping, here's what you need to know about serving, and drinking, champagne.

1. Serve Champagne in a tulip style glass

Coupes may look glamorous, but actually the larger surface area of this type of glass causes liquid to lose its bubbles very quickly, meaning the Champagne can go flat after a short time.

For the perfect serve, Moet & Chandon recommend using the tulip glass - a wider style flute - as it slows down the loss of CO2 and also creates a more intense Champagne experience, by enhancing the fragrance on the nose. In the absence of these, traditional flutes are favoured.

2. Serve Champagne at a temperature of 8-9C

For the ultimate serve, Moet & Chandon recommends placing the bottle in a Champagne bucket, filling with one-third water and adding ice cubes to top.

Leave for at least 15 minutes before serving to bring Champagne to the recommended temperature: 8-9C.

3. Don't store your Champagne in the fridge

Leaving a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for long periods could dry its cork out, as there's no humidity. As a cork dries out, the seal between the bottle and the cork loosens, which speeds up the oxidation process and subsequently changes the Champagne's taste and smell.

Champagne should be kept lying horizontal and avoiding light. Under the stairs works well in the absence of a cellar.

4. Never fill the glass too high

The ideal serve for all occasions is to fill the glass two-thirds full of Champagne. This ensures the Champagne doesn't warm up before you've finished.

5. Don't pop the cork

A bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne is opened every second around the globe; the trick to opening a bottle correctly is to firmly grasp the base of the Champagne bottle, hold at a 30-degree angle, holding the cork tightly with the cage on and twist from the bottom and tease the cork away from the bottle. The cork should gently ease away with a hiss instead of a loud pop.

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Bottoms up: Champagne is a popular drink during the summer months

6. Hold the glass at the stem

No matter how tempted, always hold your glass by the stem to avoid warming the Champagne with your hand.

7. Don't add ice cubes - with one exception

With traditional Champagnes, it's ill advised to add ice, as it dilutes the taste rather than keeps it cold, plus, its traditional composition means it will lose its fizz in a cabernet-style glass.

But, thanks to the innovation of Moet & Chandon's Cellar Master Benoit Gouez, for the first time, you can add ice.

Moet was the first in the world to break the Champagne taboo and create one specifically to be enjoyed on the rocks - Moet Ice Imperial (above).

It has a heavier composition, which three ice cubes perfectly complement to bring out an intense flavour, even as the ice begins to melt - giving you a refreshing champagne experience.

8. Enjoy Champagne immediately

If you're fortunate to be gifted with an iconic bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne, or any non-vintage Champagne, no need to worry about ageing it further as it's already been done for you.

9. Do pair Champagne with food

Champagne is often served as a pre-dinner drink, or on special occasions, such as Christmas morning breakfast, but it's the perfect dining companion all year round.

Moet maison's chef, Marco Fadiga recommends the vibrant, fruity palate of Moet Imperial Rose with strong, bold flavours such as roast lamb; while the crisp, clean palate of Moet Imperial works superbly with white fish and white meat. Cheese board to finish?

Ditch the red wine and opt for Moet Imperial with brie and Moet Imperial Rose with goats cheese.

10. Don't just enjoy Champagne at celebrations

Champagne is made for sharing among friends, from beach fronts and garden parties to rooftops and weddings, it's the ultimate curator of unforgettable and shareable moments.

Enjoy Champagne as part of your everyday celebration, even if it's just toasting a well-deserved weekend.

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