Champagne is often associated with celebrations and special occasions, and for good reason. This sparkling wine has been enjoyed by people around the world for centuries and is considered by many to be a symbol of luxury and sophistication.
Whether you’re celebrating a wedding, graduation, or promotion, or just looking to indulge in a glass of bubbly on New Year’s Eve, choosing the right champagne is key to making your event truly memorable. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to select the perfect champagne for any occasion.
An Explanation of why champagne is often associated with celebrations.
Champagne is a special type of sparkling wine that originates from the Champagne region of France. It’s typically made using a specific method known as the méthode champenoise, which involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle to create the wine’s signature bubbles. Because of its unique production process and high price point, champagne is often reserved for special occasions and celebrations.
A Brief history of champagne
Champagne has a long and storied history dating back to the 17th century. It was first created by a Benedictine monk named Dom Pérignon, who is often credited with perfecting the méthode champenoise. Over the years, champagne has become synonymous with luxury, elegance, and celebration, and is now enjoyed by people all over the world.
The Various Types of Champagne
Non-vintage champagne, also known as NV champagne, is the most common type of champagne available on the market. It’s a blend of wines from different years and is designed to taste consistent from year to year. NV champagne is typically a bit less expensive than vintage champagne and is a great choice for casual celebrations.
Vintage champagne is made from grapes grown in a single year and is only produced in exceptional years when the grapes are of the highest quality. Because of its limited production and higher quality, vintage champagne is more expensive than NV champagne and is typically reserved for more special occasions.
Blanc de Blancs
Blanc de Blancs champagne is made entirely from white grapes, usually Chardonnay. It’s known for its light, crisp, and refreshing taste and is a popular choice for pairing with seafood and other light dishes.
Blanc de Noirs
Blanc de Noirs champagne is made from red grapes, typically Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It has a slightly richer and more full-bodied flavour than Blanc de Blancs and pairs well with heartier dishes like beef and game.
Rosé champagne is made by adding a small amount of red wine to the blend, giving it a pink or salmon colour. It’s known for its fruity, floral flavour and is a popular choice for romantic occasions and summer celebrations.
Choosing the Right Champagne for Your Occasion
Champagne for your Wedding
When it comes to weddings, champagne is often the drink of choice for toasting the newlyweds. A good option is a vintage champagne like Dom Pérignon, which has a rich, full-bodied flavour that pairs well with wedding cake and other desserts.
Champagne for a Birthday
For a birthday celebration, NV champagne is a great choice. Brands like Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot are both popular and widely available, with a light, refreshing taste that’s perfect for toasting the birthday boy or girl.
Champagne for a Graduation
Graduation is a time to celebrate achievement and success, and a bottle of vintage champagne like Krug or Bollinger will make the occasion even more special. These champagnes have a rich, complex flavour that’s perfect for toasting to a bright future.
Champagne for a professional promotion
A promotion is a significant milestone in one’s career and deserves a bottle of champagne that’s equally impressive. A vintage champagne like Dom Pérignon or Bollinger is a good choice for this occasion, with a full-bodied flavour that pairs well with rich, decadent foods.
A Champagne for your New Year’s Eve party
New Year’s Eve is the ultimate occasion for popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. A popular choice for this celebration is Moët & Chandon’s Imperial Brut, a light, refreshing champagne with a crisp, clean taste that’s perfect for toasting to the new year.
For more on the choosing the right champagne for your occasion, view our latest articles on 10 of the best champagnes in the world.
How best to Serve Champagne
Champagne should be served chilled but not excessively cold. The ideal serving temperature is around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid serving champagne too cold as it can dull the wine’s flavour and aroma.
The best Glassware for Champagne
The shape of the glass can greatly affect the taste and experience of drinking champagne. A Champagne flute or tulip-shaped glass is best for preserving the wine’s bubbles and allowing its aromas to fully develop. Avoid using wide-brimmed glasses, which can cause the bubbles to dissipate too quickly.
The Champagne Pouring Technique
When pouring champagne, tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and pour slowly down the side of the glass. This will help preserve the wine’s bubbles and prevent it from spilling over the top of the glass.
How to Consider Pairing Champagne with Food
Champagne with Oysters
Oysters are a classic pairing for champagne, with their briny flavour and delicate texture complementing the wine’s light, crisp taste. Blanc de Blancs champagne is a great choice for pairing with oysters, as its bright acidity helps cut through the richness of the shellfish.
Champagne with Caviar
Caviar is another luxurious pairing for champagne, with its salty, briny flavour and delicate texture perfectly complementing the wine’s bubbles. Blanc de Blancs or vintage champagne are both good choices for pairing with caviar.
Champagne with Cheese
Cheese is an extremely versatile food that can be paired with many different types of champagne. Creamy, soft cheeses like brie or camembert pair well with Blanc de Blancs champagne, while aged, hard cheeses like cheddar or parmesan are best paired with vintage champagne.
Champagne with Desserts
Desserts can be tricky to pair with champagne, as their sweetness can overwhelm the wine’s delicate flavour. As a rule of thumb, you can pair sweeter desserts with sweeter champagnes, like demi-sec or doux. Rich, decadent desserts like chocolate cake or tiramisu pair well with vintage champagne.
Some of the finest Champagne Brands to Consider
Moët & Chandon
Moët & Chandon is one of the world’s most popular champagne brands, known for its light, refreshing taste and consistent quality. Their Imperial Brut is a great choice for casual celebrations, while their Grand Vintage and Grand Vintage Rosé are perfect for more special occasions.
Veuve Clicquot is another popular champagne brand, with a slightly richer, more full-bodied flavour than Moët & Chandon. Their Yellow Label Brut is a classic choice for toasting any occasion, while their Vintage Rosé is a great choice for romantic occasions.
Dom Pérignon is a luxury champagne brand known for its rich, complex flavour and limited production. Their vintage champagnes are highly sought after by wine connoisseurs and make a perfect choice for celebrating special occasions.
Krug is a high-end champagne brand that produces only vintage champagnes. Their champagnes are known for their rich, full-bodied flavour and are perfect for pairing with decadent foods like foie gras and truffles.
Bollinger is a traditional champagne brand known for its full-bodied, robust flavour. Their vintage champagnes are particularly well-regarded, with a complex, layered taste that’s perfect for pairing with rich, hearty foods.
Choosing the perfect champagne
Choosing the perfect champagne for any occasion involves understanding the different types of champagne available, as well as the right serving temperature, glassware, and pairing options. Non-vintage champagne is a great choice for casual celebrations, while vintage champagnes are perfect for more special occasions.
Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs champagnes are great for pairing with specific types of food, while rosé champagne is perfect for romantic occasions. Some popular champagne brands to consider include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon, Krug, and Bollinger.
Our Final thoughts on enjoying your champagne
Champagne is a luxury wine that’s perfect for celebrating special occasions and indulging in life’s finer moments. Whether you’re toasting a new year, celebrating a wedding, or enjoying a romantic evening, choosing the right champagne can make all the difference. By understanding the different types of champagne available, as well as the right serving temperature, glassware, and pairing options, you can enjoy this beloved wine to its fullest potential. So go ahead, pop the cork, and raise a glass to the good life!