International Champagne Day, a sparkling celebration
International Champagne Day is celebrated every year on the penultimate Friday in October. This is a celebration to honour the best known sparkling wine in the world. However, not all sparkling wines are champagne. Champagne is actually a legal Denomination of Origin that was established on July 22, 1927 and can only include wines made in the Champagne production region (France) in the areas of Marne, Aube, Aisne, Haute-Marne and Seine-et -Marne. There are a total of 319 Crus of which 17 are Grand Cru and 44 Premier Cru. As well as that, only three varieties can be used in its production: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. There is a whole world of champagnes to discover and toast with.
How did #ChampagneDay start?
Although champagne is born and made only in the Champagne region of France, #ChampagneDay actually started in 2009, in the US, with Chris Oggenfuss, a North American wine expert blogger who wanted to create a global online event to share a celebration with all champagne lovers. Now, on the 11th International Champagne Day, the event has grown exponentially both on Twitter and Instagram and not only involves a toast with a global community of over 30 million champagne lovers, but has also become an opportunity to educate consumers about the uniqueness of champagne and the importance of protecting its Denomination of Origin.
How should we enjoy champagne?
If you want to celebrate International Champagne Day properly, there are a number of rules to follow. Without these, you will not be able to properly appreciate the excellence of a good champagne. So we suggest you follow these tips before you begin your toast.
Make sure it is cold
Serving champagne at the right temperature is vitally important. Too high a temperature creates too much foam, hinders the uncorking and hides the nuances of the wine. Likewise, too low a temperature reduces the bubbles and directly affects how you experience it. In order to appreciate the aroma, flavour and structure, experts advise serving sparkling wine between 8ºC and 10ºC. However, the most aged champagnes should be taken out of the fridge about 15 minutes before opening to appreciate their complexity of aromas.
To open champagne like a true professional, you must hold the bottle by the body, and not by the neck, with one hand, tilt it about 45 degrees and uncork with the other hand turning the bottle, not the cork, little by little. You should also remember that although everyone loves the noise of the cork popping, it should actually be removed gently and quietly. It is much more elegant.
Serve it in a suitable glass
The glass you serve champagne in is also very important. Just as fashion evolves, so has the design of glasses. Until the 70s the Pompadour glass, characterised by being very open, was the only glass to use. It made it possible to drink more quickly and the slightly closed edges stopped the contents from spilling. In the 80s the flute glass was all the rage. Its elongated and narrow shape is perfect for watching the bubbles rise to the surface and it prevents the concentration of aromas. However, nowadays none of these glasses are considered the best for enjoying champagne. The best glass is the tulip glass, wide in the centre and slightly narrow at the edge, giving you a better experience of the flavours and aromas. If you don’t have a tulip glass, a white wine glass also works. Although it will lose more carbon, the aromas will be perfectly in tact.
Pour just enough
Finally, to avoid the typical overflowing of the champagne foam, it is best serve the champagne in two stages. Firstly, pour a small amount into the glass and wait a few seconds for the foam to settle. Then top up the glass to two-thirds full. All you need to do now is toast.
10 recommendations for toasting to International Champagne Day
1- Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée
A very special cuvée and the hallmark of one of the most important Champagne houses. Fine and deep, this champagne is made exclusively from Premiers and Grands Crus.
2- Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
Made from a blend of almost 50 different top quality wines, this sparkling wine showcases the most sophisticated side of this legendary winery. Structure, freshness and delicious aromatic complexity.
3- Dom Perignon Vintage
Dom Perignon is the father of champagne and the spirit that represents the Möet & Chandon winery, one of the most sought-after brands in the world. This exclusive champagne of the best vintages is made in his honour.
4- Krug Vintage 2006
Taking into account that 1998 was an exceptional vintage, this champagne is made only with a selection of wines from this year and fermented in barrels. This has resulted in a very seductive champagne with intense and sweet freshness.
5- Louis Roederer Cristal
Directly commissioned by Tsar Alexander II, this delicious cuvée is the most famous wine from the prestigious Louis Roederer winery. A fresh and powerful champagne that is a symbol of luxury and magnitude in both presentation and content.
6- Jaques Lassigne Les Vignes de Mountgueux Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs
Located on the “Montrachet de Champagne” hill, the greatlittle Jacques Lassaigne maison is a landmark in the Montgueux area. Their organic champagne is delicate and deliciously mineral.
7- Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature
Avoiding the excesses of modernity and working according to organic and biodynamic principles, Thierry and Christian Laherte produce this very aromatic Champagne sparkling wine that is full of minerality.
8- Bérêche & Fils Brut Reserve
A hundred-year-old family winery, Bérêche & Fils is committed to a meticulous and minimal intervention process in all of their wines. This ample, meaty and supremely elegant champagne is a great example of this.
9- Voutte & Sorbée Fidèle
“Nothing chemical, nothing synthetic, only life” is the motto of Bertrand Gautherot, one of the most renowned winemakers in the Côte des Bar. This champagne is for lovers of purity. It is not filtered or clarified and contains very low levels of sulphur. No dosage is added.
10- Georges Laval Garennes Extra Brut
Made through biodynamic viticulture, this champagne is a direct reflection of the environment it comes from, in the heart of Champagne and is made by viticulturist George Laval. A complex sparkling wine that is elegant and full of freshness.
As you can see, we have tried to show you a wide selection. Wines from large, prestigious wineries as well as small winegrowers who have recently stood out for their meticulous work and minimal intervention. So now you just have to choose one and toast to #ChampagneDay.