If you want to taste Champagne, there are a number of things you should and should not do.
- If you are going to taste a number of Champagnes, taste them in the right order. In other words, subtle Champagnes first and spicy full Champagnes last. BdB’s first, BdN later. It is best to keep ‘peers’ together (then you can compare).
- If you have purchased a really nice champagne for a tasting, don’t keep it until last. Unfortunately, it is often true that (especially the novice) tasters drink the tasting glasses completely and that at the end of the tasting they have drunk so much that they cannot actually taste / distinguish anything. However, I would not start with the best Champagnes, the rest of the Champagnes then fall away: Building up a bit is allowed.
- Champagnes must be at the right temperature. Young Champagnes around 8 degrees, normal and Rosé Champagne around 10 degrees and old Champagnes around 12 degrees (an old BdN can be even warmer, eg 14 degrees).
- If you want to compare Champagnes, it is best to serve them in the same glass. Just try to taste one champagne in two different glass shapes. You can be sure that you will get a different impression of the Champagne.
- Leave some leftovers in the bottle for an hour and then try another test glass. It will surprise you, but sometimes flavors only emerge after a while that you really didn’t taste before. Some Champagnes get better when they are open for a while, but most not …
- If you put the Champagnes on the table, keep them at the right temperature. An ice bucket or Ice jacket is a really good idea. Make sure that the oldies do not get too cold.
- If you really want to taste Champagne then I wouldn’t add accompanying snacks. You often taste the (previous) snack and not the Champagne. However, if you just want to have a pleasant evening under the heading “tasting” and you just want to enjoy Champagne, you can of course make perfect combinations with snacks.
- Smoking and Champagne is difficult. I know, I also smoke myself (still) and when I have smoked I taste less distinction between the Champagnes and I especially taste the label.
- The glasses you use must be clean. Sample glasses shouldn’t actually be in the dishwasher, but if you did, rinse them with water and a good pinch of salt and dry them before use. A small residue of dishwashing detergent can ruin a whole tasting (that’s a shame, isn’t it?).
- Only freaks decant Champagne and / or let it chambré. Only in exceptional cases can this be useful. I have never needed it in practice.