It’s that time again around the holidays when folks love popping Champagne bottles. But there’s a whole world of info behind the nose-tickler that most eager drinkers just don’t know much about. According to the famed consumer spending watchdog company, Nielsen, Americans are increasing their consumption of the bubbly and not just at weddings, New Year’s eve parties, or anniversaries. So, if you plan on sipping the bubbly this New Year’s eve, you might want to learn a few interesting facts about it:
- For Champagne to be given its label, it has to come from the Champagne region in France, which is known for its cold, wet climate. The weather affects the acidity and taste of the three commonly used types of grapes (pinot noir, pinot Meunier, and chardonnay) to make the Champagne.
- According to a scientific calculation, there are around 49 billion bubbles in a bottle of Champagne, a little under 1/5 the number of stars in the Milky Way.
- A Champagne cork travels at about 25 mph when it is shaken and popped open. Believe it or not, champagne corks kill almost 24 people each year. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the improperly aimed popping of Champagne corks is also one of the most common causes of holiday-related eye injuries.
- Champagne flutes are cute but impractical. If you really want to enjoy the full-bodied experience of the beverage, you should drink it out of a wine glass in order to savor its complexity which translates into both smell and taste, as the two are connected.
- Don’t buy Champagne off a shelf! Ask for a bottle from the retailer’s back room instead. Champagne tends to lose its quality when exposed to light, so getting it right out of a shipping box is the best way to ensure that it is up to par.
- Don’t store Champagne in the fridge, as doing so will dry out and shrink the cork, resulting in the escape of carbonation and the penetration of surrounding food odors and flavors. If you do decide to chill the bubbly, the best way to do so is to fill an ice bucket with ice, one-third water and allow your bottle to cool for 15-20 minutes.
- When pouring Champagne, only fill your glass to about one-third of the way full. Over-pouring the beverage will only result in warm Champagne.
- When drinking Champagne, hold the glass by the stem and NOT by the bowl because you’ll only warm it up.
- Once you open a bottle, make sure to use a stopper if you don’t finish its contents. A stopper will keep Champagne bubbles fresh for about a day.
- The best foods to pair with Champagne are salty, oily, and fatty selections because they bring out the wine’s fruitiness and freshness.
- What is the most expensive champagne bottle this 2022? It’s the 2013 Taste of Diamonds, a blend of Grand Cru Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier valued at $2.07 M. Aside from the champagne itself, the bottle has a lot to do with the price. Its logo is handcrafted from 18-carat gold and accented by a 19-carat white diamond.
- Champagne is just a sparkling wine. Yeast and sugar are added to the wine for a second fermentation which creates the bubbles that make the Champagne.
Here are a few really wonderful $80 and under Champagnes that will absolutely NOT disappoint:
B. Stuyvesant Grand Reserve Brut (a Black-owned company), $62, stuyvesantchampagne.com
Champagne Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee, $80, wine.com
Charles Coquet L’Elegant Grand Cru Champagne, $50, TotalWine.com
Pommery Brut Royal Champagne, $38, TotalWine.com
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne, $50, drizly.com
Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut Yellow Label, $64, winechateau.com