Old habits die hard—and some of them aren’t doing us any favors when it comes to enjoying Champagne. The next time you buy that celebratory bottle, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by avoiding these common mistakes, as identified by wine experts.
They serve it too cold.
“I don’t like to put it right in the ice bucket,” says Kathryn Coker, head of the wine program at Esters Wine Bar in Los Angeles. (It’s been called the best wine bar in Southern California by the L.A. Times, and it’s cheffed by Ubuntu alum Jeremy Fox.) “My favorite thing is to open it when it’s cold, and then let it sit on the table. I like to see what happens when it warms up naturally to cellar temperature, around 55 degrees,” says Coker. “All the flaws come out, and all the nuances come out.” She likes to open Champagne when it’s around 45 degrees, and then pop it back in the fridge when it starts to warm up.
Matteo Lunelli, president and CEO of wine company Ferrari Trento (no relation to the car company), recommends storing your bottle in a cool dark place, and then refrigerating it the night before drinking. The final temperature should be between 42.8° F and 44.6° F. His one caution: storing sparkling wines in the fridge for too long can alter the taste. “The cork can dry out due to no humidity and, as the corks dry out, the seal between the bottle and the cork loosen up and the wine will oxidize faster, changing its aromas. It can also absorb flavors and perfumes of other foods,” he says. Lunelli supplied Ferrari Trento to the Television Academy this year for the Emmy Awards, making it the first time in history that a sparkling wine, not a Champagne, was the toasting drink.