A real man knows the difference between the bubbles in his MCC and his champagne, but if you need a crash course to ordering bubbly like Bond, bubbly and wine extraordinaire, Miguel Chan, Group sommelier for Tsogo Sun Hotels and host of the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show’s exclusive Café Cru Sparkling Wine Bar at the Montecasino in Johannesburg, he’s got you covered. His knowledge and experience of all things bubbly can help you brush up on your knowledge before the next time your lady wants to you to pop the cork.
What is champagne?
Champagne is only produced in France, the grapes are grown in the region called Champagne just outside of Paris in the North of France. Anywhere else in the world it’s known as sparkling wine and may not be referred to as Champagne. Sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy. It starts the same as any other wine and is mostly made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.
What’s with all the bubbles?
The rule of thumb here is that if there is no bubbles you may as well toss it out and start again. There are approximately 250 million bubbles in a 750ml bottle of bubbly and, for each second, bubbly emits 30 bubbles. It also has three times more gas than beer (yes hiccups and burping is all part of the fun) so don’t take offense.
What’s James Bond got to do with it?
James Bond has been spotted drinking Champagne (mostly Bollinger) more than 35 times in over 22 of his films. The story goes that back in 1978, “Cubby” Broccoli, the long-time Bond film producer, met Christian Bizot, GM of Champagne Bollinger, and the two struck up a friendship. As a result, Bollinger has been featured in 14 Bond films. It has been the exclusive champagne partner of the movie franchise since Moonraker in 1979.
How to open a bottle of bubbly like a gentleman
Bubbly must be chilled in an ice bucket for a minimum of 30 minutes. Handle with care when opening the foil and the cage around the cork, because with all the pressure locked up in that one bottle the cork can pop on its own with a force that’s bound to leave a bruise. So point it far away from your date and slip it out very slowly to better conserve the bubbles.
The super cool way to open a bottle
Sabering your bottle will prove you’re the man to your sassy lass. Here’s how to do it: With your thumb firmly pressed on the cork, loosen the cage and refasten it above the bottle’s lip. Next, find the bottle’s seam, which runs the entire length of the glass. Make sure this is facing up and the cork is held out away from your body. Naturally, make sure you have open space ahead. With the saber, find the seam and hold it 45 degrees to the bottle. With one fluid motion, scrape the blade up to the lip of the bottle, and voila!
Which glass is best to serve bubbly in?
Now that you’ve successfully unleashed the millions of tiny, sparkly bubbles and you can hear the fizz buzzing inside the bottle, use a tall, tulip shape flute or even a white wine glass (better aromatics and textures) to pour your lady her drink. Don’t be tempted to use an old-fashioned coupé-shaped glass just because your grandmother always served her bubbly that way, it will only reduce the fizziness in your bubbly.
At the end of the day, what’s not to love about a crisp glass of bubbly? Why not try out your new skill by visiting Miguel at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show’s Café Cru Sparkling Wine Bar at Montecasino from the 25th – 27th May 2017.