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Have you been drinking champagne the wrong way?

There’s no question about it – there really is something special about sipping a glass of champagne. Nothing says celebration like it and it can certainly elevate an otherwise ordinary gathering into something a bit more chic. This year’s Le French GourMay food and wine festival is featuring the Champagne region, giving us all an excuse to try some different varieties of the revered beverage. While choosing the right champagne is important, how you drink it mustn’t be overlooked, as you may well be destroying the flavour and experience without realising it. Here are some tips before you imbibe!

Le French GourMay: Do you know how to make the most of champagne?
Do you know how to make the most of champagne?

• It’s the classic movie scene – someone triumphantly wrenching open a bottle of champagne which sprays everywhere. The experts recommend, however, you should open the bottle by gently twisting the cork rather than popping it out. It is also recommended to keep the cage on when removing the cork.

• Champagne should always be served cold – between 7 and 9 degrees. Chilling it for half an hour before opening can also reduce the likelihood of spillage. When drinking it’s best to hold the stem to stop the champagne from overheating in the glass.

• Pouring with the glass tilted to the side prevents the bubbles from creating a foam and maintains the fizz factor. And while you may want to look a generous host, it is also advisable to only fill one-third of the glass to avoid the champagne becoming too warm. You’ll just have to top up often!

• A tulip-shaped glass is now the most common vessel to serve champagne in – and for a reason: the narrow glass limits the amount of oxygen that gets into the glass, preserving the bubbles and adding to the taste and aroma. Avoid the large coupe glass so popular in the 1950s and 60s – this quickly spoils the champagne’s effervescence.

• Champagne starts to go flat within a few hours of opening the bottle (if it lasts that long!), and several years ago after extensive research the official Comité Champagne organisation debunked the myth that a teaspoon in the bottle will preserve the bubbles.

This article was brought to you by:

Le French GourMay. The festival runs from 1 to 31 May, with events all over town |

Want to know more? Here’s 11 Facts About Champagne!