The Very Best of French Champagne
☆☆☆ “Come quickly! I’m tasting the stars…” – Dom Perignon ☆☆☆
The essence of luxury, sophistication, seduction… A golden elixir, with delightful bubbles and crisp complex flavors. Champagne is the essence of joy. When you pop open a bottle of Champagne, you are making a decisive statement. It’s a celebration, and if you are looking for romance, then champagne is a must!
Champagne is NOT just bubbling wine!
Champagne has always been considered a drink of the wealthy, all the way back to the first sparkling wines created in 17th century France for the King. The process was perfected by Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon and became increasingly popular with royalty and the most privileged. Champagne comes only from the protected Champagne region of France, all the rest are considered “sparkling wines” regardless of what the label says. Champagnes can range in color from pale gold to rose blush. Their flavors can range from fruity or yeasty, and dry to sweet.
The label indicates the level of sweetness:
- Brut (bone dry to almost dry)
- Extra Dry (balanced)
- Demi-Sec (sweet)
- Doux (very sweet)
Champagnes are named after the houses that produce them, for which they produce different brands at different price points. The best champagnes (Grandes Marques) still remains the drink of the wealthy with prices running into the thousands of dollars and more with some bottles getting real diamond bling as decoration.
“She felt as if all its sparkles ☆ were whirling through her.” – from The Mother’s Recompense by Edith Wharton
The Top Ten French Champagnes
On a budget? Try the current Charles Heidsieck’s Brut Reserve for around $50 USD. Otherwise…
- Heidsieck 1907 salvaged shipwrecked champagne sunk to the bottom of the ocean while en route to the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ($275K)
- Perrier-Jouet Champagne Belle Epoque 2000 ($50K – but you get a 12 pack so it’s a bargain)
- Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam ($40K)
- Krug 1928 ($20K)
- Cristal Brut 1990 ($18K) released especially for the millennium
- Moet & Chandon 1961 served at Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding ($5K)
- Krug Clos d’Ambonnay ($3K)
- Veuve Clicquot Le Grande Dame Brut 2006 ($2K)
- Boerl & Kroff Brut ($2K)
- Armand de Brignac Brut Gold ($350)
I’m not going to count the Goût de Diamants Prestige Cuvée Chapuy with its 19-karat diamond and your name engraved in white gold priced at $1.82M just because it’s more about the packaging here than the champagne, fine though it may be…
So…how much $$$ do you really love her???
Opening a Bottle of Champagne
- Chill Champagne either in your fridge for three hours, or in a bucket with ice and water. It only takes 30 minutes in ice and water to chill a bottle.
- Make sure to have crystal champagne glasses on hand. Crystal has a rougher surface than glass and gives the bubbles something to cling to instead of escaping. You can cheat by sightly scratching an X in the bottom inside of the glass with the tip of a knife – but that’s cheating!
- Stand the bottle on a counter for support.
- Get a towel. Keep one hand over the top of the cork with the towel between your hand and the cork. Untwist the wire cage. Remove the wire.
- Keep the towel on top of the cork with one hand and put your other hand on the bottle at a point where you have a good grasp.
- TURN THE BOTTLE, not the cork. You’ll feel the cork loosen a bit. Keep a downward pressure on the cork as it completely loosens and finally releases. The cork should be removed with a soft “sigh.”
- Hold the cork over the opened bottle for a few seconds to ensure the Champagne doesn’t escape.
- Pour slowly, without tipping the glass (considered very gauche as is filling the glass to the brim), letting the liquid rises and topping off as the foam recedes.
They say there’s no real need to chill the glasses if your champagne is at the proper temperature (45°F), but I find it decadent and delightful. Who cares about the rules anyways??? Make that bottle pop with a loud bang and the let the cork rip !!!
And don’t forget about Pink Champagne… It is the perfect accompaniment to serve with dessert or chocolate.
Did you know?
Once the champagne has been bottled, it won’t get any better although the color will deepen. As such, there is no reason to keep a bottle of Champagne for years.
Now that we have all that settled, if you need romancing ideas check out “Paris♥…the city of Love.”
Happy (bubbly) Travels,
-Girl Gone Gallic
PS – The old-fashioned “coupe de Champagne” (sherbet shaped glass) is claimed to have been modeled on the shape of Madame de Pompadour’s breast. Guess she was tiny breasted…does it fit yours???
For my Pinterest friends…