New Year and champagne, 5 frequently asked questions
Many of us like to celebrate the New Year with festivities, including champagne, but very few of us drink enough of it to know much about it. Although it is a wonderful and food-friendly wine, suitable for any occasion when the wine is appropriate, it is often shrouded in mystery and as the New Year approaches, people often start asking questions about it. Here are five of the most common questions I hear.
1) What is the difference between French champagne and other types of champagne.
This is a common question with an easy answer. All champagne is from France. There are other wonderful sparkling wines from other parts of the world, but they taste different, even if they say “Champagne” on the label. However, you can celebrate New Years or any other event with any type of sparkling wine you want, or even beer or soft drink.
2) Can I open champagne before midnight?
I’m amazed at how often this question gets asked, but of course you can. You can open a bottle whenever you want. I usually have a glass with dinner on New Year’s Eve and another at midnight, but it’s up to you. There are no rules other than responsible drinking.
3) How much should I spend?
If you’re buying the real stuff, you’ll spend around $30 or more. If there is a type you know and like, you can pick it up or ask the wine shop for recommendations. You can buy a very good non-French sparkling wine for much less. For example, a good bottle of Spanish cava will cost you an average of $15 to $20, sometimes less.
4) Is the expensive champagne worth it?
If you are experienced, yes, absolutely. However, if you’ve just turned of age, never drank before, and want to buy a bottle of Dom Perignon, you’re wasting your money. But first a few bottles of cheaper but excellent sparkling wines.
5) How cold should it be served?
Generally, most are served too cold. Ice cold is too cold. I like to put it in the fridge for a few hours and then take it out for about 30-45 minutes before removing the cap. As you drink it, it will warm up further and the flavors will also open up, and if it gets too warm for your taste, you can briefly put in an ice cube.
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