Uncork the New Year with a sip of Champagne

By Al Edenloff

Ten, nine, eight… Ready to ring in the New Year?

One way to add a touch of fun and style to your New Year’s Eve celebration is to uncork some bubbly. Whether it’s a high-end $200 bottle of Dom Perignon or a $10 sparkling Cava, here’s a countdown of champagne tips to ensure a successful celebration:

  1. Impress others with some bubbly knowledge. Did you know that “Champagne” with a capital “C” can only be made in the Champagne region of France? Or that it is made from a blend of red and white grapes – pinor noir, meunier and chardonnay?
  2. How sweet do you like it? The sugar content can be found on most labels. It ranges from 0 to 6 grams for “Extra Brut” up to more than 50 grams for “Doux.”
  3. Stow champagne in the fridge for 3 or 4 hours. You want it to be between 43 and 48 degrees. Forget about the freezer. Bad things can happen in there.
  4. If you’re pressed for time, fill a bucket half with water and half with ice and let the bubbly chill 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Have a toast ready. It can be funny, sad, poignant, or schmaltzy, but it should at least be memorable.
  6. Several minutes before the countdown, wrap a towel around the bottle, remove the foil wrap and wire ring. Tilt the bottle at a 45-degree angle, pointing the cork end away from you (and everyone else). Slowly twist the bottle to help push the cork out.
  7. Pour the bubbly into tulip-shaped glasses about halfway. Leave room to swirl the champagne and release flavor and aroma.
  8. Study your drink. It should be bright and shiny, not dull. The older the champagne, the more golden in color it becomes. Take a whiff or two, slowly inhaling.
  9. Give your toast. Stand up, clearly say your words, maintain eye contact, keep it short and clink glasses.
  10. Sip. Don’t just think about how it tastes but also the texture, the weight, the carbonation. Notice how it finishes. The longer the finish, the better quality.

Cheers to 2013!

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