How to pour the perfect glass of champagne

Champagne is a luxury that can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but can often be a cause for consternation.  From the right serving temperature to how to avoid over spill The Lady gives the definitive guide on how to serve champagne to perfection.

Picking the perfect bottle

There is no such thing as the perfect bottle of champagne – different styles suit different occasions, and ultimately it is down to personal taste. For an aperitif, choose something bright and with citrus notes such as Blanc de Blanc, which has afresh aroma and goes well with seafood canapes or starters. If you are drinking champagne with a meal then opt for a vintage champagne as the deeper, more complex notes will work better with stronger flavours. Rose champagne works well with red fruits which help to bring out soft berry notes.

How cold?

The correct serving temperature for champagne is between 8 and 12 degrees, in general a non-vintage champagne should be served at a cooler temperature and vintage champagne slightly warmer to bring out the best flavours. Ideally a bottle would need to chill in a fridge for 24 hours before serving. However, if you are short on time the answer is not to put the bottle in the freezer. Instead place two table spoons of salt with cold water and ice in your ice bucket or similar container and leave for 30 minutes.The salt in the water helps conduct the cold temperature to the champagne. Check both the bottle and the neck to ensure the bottle is an even temperature before serving.

Flute or coupe?

The answer is neither! The best glass is of tulip shape, allowing the flavours to be released while maintaining a steady stream of bubbles. Whatever style of glass you use, ensure that it is perfectly clean and cool to the touch.

Opening a bottle

  1. Hold the bottle away from yourself, people and glasses - ideally face a wall.
  2. Remove the foil and the wire cage over the cork, make sure you keep your thumb over the cork at all times.
  3. Holding the bottle at a 45-degree angle, take the cork in one hand the bottle in the other.
  4. Turn the bottle, not the cork, towards you and use the pressure to gently force the cork to release.

Pouring perfection

  • Using your dominant hand, press your thumb into the indent in the bottom of the champagne bottle and spread your fingers around the bottom of the bottle ensuring you have a good grip. 
  • With your non-dominant hand, pick up the glass by the stem and tilt it to a 45-degree angle. 
  • Gently pour into the glass ensuring that the champagne touches the side of the glass to prevent foam and excessive bubbles forming. 
  • Stop once you have poured approximately 1 inch into the glass and wait for any foam to subside. 
  • Continue pouring until the glass is half full, or to the widest point in the glass.
  • Never fill a glass with champagne in order to allow the aroma to release in the glass for the full tasting experience.

Preserving the bubbles

Should you find yourself in the extraordinary situation of having an unfinished bottle of champagne then the only way to keep the bubbles is to apply a specialist champagne stopper as soon as possible.  The use of a silver teaspoon to keep bubbles is just a myth!

The Lady loves…

Fortnum's Blanc de Blancs Champagne Magnum £77.50

Charles Heidsieck Brut Millesime Jeroboam £995