The term champagne is used as a generic term for sparkling wine in the United States, but Champagne (with a capital C) is used to refer to the sparkling wine produced within the Champagne region of France for which it is named.
In 1662 an English scientist wrote a treatise on the “methode champenoise,” which detailed how the addition of sugar in a second fermentation process created bubbles.
Champagne gained it’s reputation because of it’s association with royalty. Royalty throughout Europe helped associate Champagne with luxury and power through the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. With advertising and promotion, the early manufacturers sought to associate Champagne with luxury, parties and rites of passage. Today we use Champagne or champagne (sparkling wines not from the Champagne region of France) to celebrate special occasions, accomplishments, and events such diverse as christening a child, or christening a ship. If you are having a party and are celebrating a birthday, a promotion, an engagement, or just a gathering of friends or family, consider beginning with a champagne toast.
The champagne coupe or saucer was designed specifically for champagne in England in 1633. The coupe, however, with it’s broad bowl causes the champagne to warm too quickly and lose its carbonation too quickly. The champagne flute , a tall stemmed glass with a tall narrow bowl is the best choice to serve champagne. The small bowl helps hold the carbonation, and the stem keeps the hand from warming the champagne.
Champagne should be served cold, 43 ~ 48 degrees. To open the Champagne, remove the foil from the cork, and carefully untwist the metal cage that is designed to keep the cork in the bottle. Wrap the neck of the bottle and the cork in a clean cloth napkin or towel, and holding the cork securely, gently twist the bottle, until the cork slides out with a delicious “pop”!
To serve, wrap the stem of the bottle in a napkin or towel to prevent drips, tilt the glass slightly, and pour gently into the side of the glass until the glass is 3/4 full.