The author of The Great Gatsby — one of the greatest (and most rakish) pieces of American literature — once proclaimed: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.” Bravo F. Scott Fitzgerald, bravo. I don’t doubt that we’ve all truly doused ourselves in liquid-luxury over the last few days of festive cheer, but the fun is not yet over. Roll on New Year and à plus tard 2016! It’s been a catastrophic year for humanity and there’s no need to write a compendium stating why. So in light of that, it is surely fitting to divulge unto you some rakish know-how on the best ways in which to enjoy champagne this New Year with three useful tips, courtesy of Benoît Gouez, Cellar Master of Moët & Chandon.
There’s a common misconception that champagne should traditionally be enjoyed from a flute, sorry to break it to you. Gouez, an erudite wine connoisseur explains: “If you ask any wine connoisseur, you’ll find they use a wine glass to drink champagne; ideally with a wider base and slightly narrower at the top to release more aroma. It allows the champagne to breath, creating a fruiter, richer taste on your palate,” Forget the taste notes though, the obvious beauty of this first tip is naturally that a larger glass can take more champagne and more champagne equals, well, I think we all know? It’s called aspirin.
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the 18th century French epicure of gastronomy, once said: “Dessert without cheese is like a beauty with only one eye.” So, what does champagne without cheese equal? A one-eyed old crone with a receding hairline and Glaswegian accent most likely. Never mind, the point is that anyone with a sophisticated palate will know that champagne and cheese are a delightful pairing. Depending on what blend or vintage, a variety of cheese — both strong and salty — work exceptionally well with champagne’s fruity, floral and sweet notes. Vive le fromage!
Finally, buy magnums to pop at the turn of the year. Not only are they twice as large as conventional bottles, but due to the size difference and equal air content, Gouez informs me that “the wine matures slower and therefore longer, resulting in a more complex and harmonious taste.” So if you want to impress, indulge and be emphatically excessive with your New Year’s celebrations, a magnum is surely the correct way of doing so, is it not?
So, Rake readers, have a splendid New Year and cheers to next one, it can’t get any worse can it? But fear not, as we’ve got very, very exciting plans for 2017. Stay tuned.
A 1.5litre magnum of Moët & Chandon is £65 and available to buy at moet.com