Champagne & sparkling wine tips
Good for crowds
Working out what kind of fizz to serve can be a bit of a balancing act if you’re entertaining a crowd. Go for quality and quantity – drinks that taste great but still offer great value. These represent the best of cava, Prosecco, crémant and New World sparkling wines – and they’re all under £15 a bottle.
Working out how many bottles you need is your first challenge. You’ll get about 6-8 glasses from each bottle, with reasonably generous pours.
Think carefully about your guests, though. Will they stay long? Are they driving? Both of these will affect how much they drink, but you should be safe if you budget for about a third to half a bottle per person.
Good for smaller gatherings
If you don’t need to satisfy quite so many thirsty guests, you can spend a bit more on a bottle. With a price ceiling of £30, Champagne is well in range, and there are some good options, such as the vintage Nicolas Feuillatte. But don’t just jump to Champagne: consider non-Champagne quality sparkling options, including England, which is now making some seriously good alternatives.
We taste with our eyes, too, so serving fizz in the right glasses will help your guests enjoy it even more! The current trend is to serve sparkling wine in flutes with as broad a bowl as possible, or in standard white wine glasses with tapered tulip-shaped bowls. You don’t need to spend a fortune on glasses, but try to get ones with as thin a rim as possible.
Good for a special family Christmas
Christmas is the one time in the year when you can really justify spending a lot of money on bubbles, and here we are looking at some of the very best Champagnes. These 4 bottles may be a little pricey, but they’re delicious and reinforce why this is still the globe’s pre-eminent sparkling wine region.
And if you’re splashing out on decent Champagne, you want to make sure it’s properly chilled. Ideally, it should be around 8-10°C. If you don’t have enough room in your fridge, get an ice bucket and put some bottles in a mix of ice and water – it’s a great standby. Then, before you serve the wine, gently invert the bottle so the temperature is even throughout – often it’s freezing at the bottom while the neck is still warm.