Slightest change in temperature can affect your experience of a champagne, flavour even more than with still wines. What is the ideal serving temperature for champagne?
Fluctuations seem to change the flavour of sparkling wine to an extend the whole tasting menus have been constructed based on this concept – different dishes have been matched to the same champagne at different temperatures. What are there rules for the temperatures serving champaigne?
Champagne has always been served to French nobility fairly cool from times it first appeared in the early 18th century. The fashionable drinking temperature in the beginning was from 6 to 8º C, and the bottles were kept in coolers filled with ice water. Those days it had a lot of sugar added to it, and to reduce the sweetness in taste it became fashionable to drink it ‘frappé‘ at around a very chilly 3º C . As the produces diminished sugar levels in champagne, it became interesting to serve it at higher temperatures, and nowadays we consume the drink chilled almost as much as the very first fans.
It is generally acknowledged that more complex the champagne is higher is the temperature of the consumption. Dom Pérignon with its exquisite, elegant wines is one of the Champagne houses to have experimented a few times with temperature and food matching to a startling effect. The complexity and richness of Krug make it another interesting contender for temperature experiments.
There are many different styles of champagne from rich and biscuit, to crisp and clean, to red-fruited rosé and the entire palette inbetween. Whatever the style of the sparkling is with lower temperature more mineral, sappy and fresh the wine will appear. Cool temperatures also mask sweetness and bitterness. By contrast, all flavours become richer and more exuberant as the wine gradually warms up in the glass and becomes more exposed to oxygen.
Most fridges are preserving temperature around 7ºC but a champagne served straight from the fridge will not be showing many of its most subtle aromas and flavours. The ideal tasting temperature for most non-vintage brands such as Moët & Chandon Brut Non Vintage or the Mercier Brut Non Vintage, is between 8 and 10º C.
More complex champagne such as Dom Pérignon or vintage Moët & Chandon however, show its best a little warmer – between 10 and 12º C as the extra couple of degrees reveal their extra aroma and flavour nuances. With a particularly rich style of champagne such as Krug, one could start a little cooler and drink between 9 and 12ºC.
For rosé champagne the same guidelines are used as for white champagne, serving from 8°C to 10ºC for non-vintage, or a touch warmer at 10 and 12ºC for vintage versions, so their complexity of flavour to be enjoyed as tis fullest.
Beyond 12ºC, a champagne will be showing the maximum amount of fruit and body so if it is matching dessert that’s not too sweet, serving it between 13 and 15ºC would be the best.