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Serving Champagne and Sparkling Wines

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Bring the New Year in with a bang, not your Champagne! To open a bottle of bubbly without the infamous “pop,” you will need to have it properly chilled to about 45 degrees (easily accomplished by refrigerating for three hours before opening or placing in a full bucket of ice and water for 20 minutes) and gently ease the cork from the bottle.

The Battle of the Cork

There is about 80 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure behind the cork, so carefully remove the foil covering and wire hood. Next ease the cork out, by securing the cork and turning the bottle (held at a 45 degree angle). Once the cork sighs open you are ready to pour. Fluted glasses are best for Champagne and sparkling wines as they encourage the bubbles to collect and rise to the top allowing the full aroma to concentrate near the surface. Go slow when pouring the bubbly, to avoid frothing, and allow glasses to settle a moment before topping them off.

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Storage

Once opened, Champagne and sparkling wines may be stored for a few days in the refrigerator with the help of a handy Champagne stopper, which helps to keep the wine from oxidizing too rapidly. As for long-term storage, Champagnes and sparkling wines may be cellared horizontally like other wines, but do not necessarily benefit from additional aging.

Pairing Champagne and Sparkling Wines with Food

Champagnes and many sparkling wines tend to pair well with a variety of appetizers, both mild and strong cheeses and hold up particularly well with spicy Asian cuisine. Chips and popcorn, pizza that’s light on the tomato sauce, nuts and Mexican food all pair surprisingly well with Champagne due to the salt factor. Bubbly wine is generally more versatile than still wines for pairing with food, making it an ideal celebratory drink that may accommodate occasions ranging from New Year's Parties to weddings.

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