Tomorrow night, all around the world, millions of corks will be popped as clocks strike midnight, to toast 2009 with a glass of champagne. But a lot of guys don't know much about champagne, see it as something only snobs drink, and are even intimidated by it.
The truth is that champagne is meant to be enjoyed anytime, not just for special occasions. So to clear up some common misconceptions, I spoke to the experts over at Perrier-JouŽt
to get the low-down on the bubbly. Below are eight of the most widely-believed myths about champagne, and the actual facts. Pop the cork and enjoy.
MYTH: Champagne and wine are two different things.
Champagne is actually wine. In fact, many top chefs consider champagne the ultimate wine for food. Due to the acidity of champagne, it complements the widest variety of menu items. Plus, you donít have the added pressure of picking a red or a white wine to go with dinner, because you get both in most champagnes.
MYTH: Champagne should be ice cold.
The colder it is, the fewer tastes and aromas are experienced.
MYTH: The fastest way to chill champagne is to put into a bucket of ice.
Ice water will actually chill a bottle much faster. (In about 20 minutes.)
MYTH: The proper way to open a bottle is to allow the cork to fly off the top of the bottle.
To avoid taking an eye out, and spending New Year's Eve in the ER,
a hand should always be placed firmly over the wire cage holding the cork to properly open a bottle.
MYTH: Once that bottle of champagne is opened, it needs to be consumed.
Perrier-JouŽt says that if a bottle is re-corked properly, it will not go flat and still be bubbly.
MYTH: Champagne comes from the mini champagne grapes.
Champagne (with the exception of blanc de blancs) is made with two red variety grapes: Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as one white grape, the chardonnay grape.
MYTH: Champagne is only supposed to be used for celebrations or with dessert.
Champagne should be considered as any wine would be. And it goes great with food. Just don't pair a brut champagne (the most common variety of champagne) with dessert. Most are too sweet, so go with a demi-sec champagne instead.
MYTH: Champagne can come from different regions in the world.
Unless the champagne comes from the Champagne region of France, itís not really champagne. All wines made outside of Champagne, France are referred to as "Sparkling Wine".