Champagne 101: Know Your Bubbles

Posted December 10, 2007 5:25 p.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2007 5:38 p.m. EST

You don't have to be a connoisseur to enjoy a little fizz with your buzz this holiday season.

"Tasting wine and champagne is a very simple thing. It's all about pleasure," says Herve Rousseau, owner of New York's Flute champagne bar.

If you've already got the pleasure part down, here are few more hints for celebrating the sparkle.



Nothing fancy. "You should always open it very gently, very slow," says Maximilian Riedel, the 11th generation descendant of the Austrian wine glass company Riedel. "All you should hear is a little ffft. It should not be a big bang, because with a big bang comes a lot of wine that you will lose."



Rousseau suggests the following food and champagne combinations: Smoked salmon and rose; parmesan cheese and blanc de blanc, which is champagne made with purely chardonnay grapes; and dark, barely sweetened chocolate with a demi-sec champagne, whose sweetness can compliment the bitter chocolate.



Another way to enjoy champagne, Rousseau says, is use it as a topper for a traditional cocktail like a cosmopolitan or an apple martini. You just make your drink and leave an inch at the top, then pour in the bubbles to pick it up. It works especially well with sweet cocktails, according to Rousseau.