I could be about to demonstrate the most important lesson you can ever learn when it comes to tasting champagne… and that is how to taste champagne.
So I want you to listen up and I want you to pay attention because there are three very important steps and you can’t get these steps wrong. Because if you mess these steps up you are missing the whole champagne experience!
How to taste champagne. Three steps. Pay attention. Very important!
How to taste champagne is a practical lesson so it is much more fun to watch the video…
How to taste champagne in three SIMPLE steps… the B&F 101
You pour the champagne from the bottle into your glass.
You drink the champagne.
Was there a step three? Yes… step three you drink some more!
OK, so obviously I’m taking the piss out of wine wankers a little bit…. but seriously if you can do those three things, you are going to get the champagne experience… trust me!
That said, fancy wine people who do know stuff about wine also say there are four steps in how to taste champagne (or any wine for that matter).
There’s an awesome wine chick out of the U.S called Madeline who writes my fave wine blog, Wine Folly and I love her! She’s actually a seriously smart wine person but she has a heap of fun with it. Follow her blog if you want to learn more about wine in general and not just champagne.
So Madeline has four different steps to taste wine.
Wine Folly Step One – Look
The first step is to look at your glass. Look at the colour of the champagne.
- Generally the younger and fresher the champagne is, the paler and more straw-like it will appear.
- On the other end of the spectrum, when it’s aged or has a lot of reserve wines in it, it has much more of a golden colour.
So sometimes you’ll get a hint about what the champagne is going to be like just by looking at the glass.
Wine Folly Step Two – Smell
So the next step is to smell the wine.
- For me I always start with… does it smell like champagne? If you can tell it’s champagne – TICK!
- If you’re a little bit more advanced, then you might detect that it’s a bit citrusy and it’s a high Chardonnay champagne… well done you!
- Or if you think you can smell fruit and it’s a high pinot champagne… that’s awesome!
- Now if you’re really experienced you might be able to pick pomegranate or pineapples or floral or roses versus lilies. Or you might even be able to determine the difference between strawberries and blackberries… and good bloody luck to you!
Do whatever you want to enjoy wine.
Of course, after you’ve smelt it you get to do the most important thing of all…
Wine Folly Step Three – Taste
And that’s taste it!
- When you taste champagne, you might get completely different sensations and flavours then you did when you smelt it. That’s normal.
- You’ll also probably find that when you first open the bottle and pour the glass, you’ll get a completely different flavour profile and aroma profile than you will towards the end of the bottle, particularly if the bottle has been sitting out on the table and it’s been warming up, or as your glass warms up. Again, that’s perfectly normal.
It’s quite common to get nothing on the nose or the palate when the champagne is served too cold. If your champagne is too cold, it doesn’t open up. You think of what you’re like if you go outside and it’s snowing or it’s cold. What do you want to do? You hunker down and huddle inwards because you’re really, really freezing.
Champagne does the same thing – if it’s too cold it hunkers down and it doesn’t release anything. But if it’s a beautiful warm sunny day, we’re much more open and relaxed and so is champagne. It develops and it shows off a little bit when it’s a little bit warmer.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look at, smell and taste champagne…
Wine Folly Step Four – Make up your mind what you think
Next you decide what you think about it.
That could be anything – it is totally personal and there is no right or wrong response.
Common initial reactions you’ll see are….
- “I love, love, love, love, love it!”
- “You know what, I liked it but I wouldn’t put it in my top 10 list, or I wouldn’t put it on my deserted island list.”
- Or if I had an expectation of what the champagne was going to be like, I might think “Wow that was a lot more apples/fruit/chalk than I expected.”
- Sometimes I’ll think “Gosh I love that… it’s the perfect champagne for a Sunday afternoon barbecue.”
- Or … “You know what, the next time I’m really seriously trying to woo some guy, I’m going to invite him over and cook an amazing lamb roast and pour this champagne!”
Because that tends to be how I draw my conclusions about champagne. I always love champagne, but my conclusions are more about the occasion and people and socialising (or my love life haha!).
If you feel ready to step up your champs-fanning, maybe try some of these steps the next time you pop a bottle. But definitely do the tasting part because, really, what else is there????
Next time you try a champs, let me know what you think! Make sure you post a pic and tag @bubbleandflute #bubbleandflute #happychampers
Bubble & Flute promotes the responsible consumption of alcohol for individuals of legal drinking age in their country.