Tips for Writing a New Year’s Champagne Toast

tips-for-writing-a-new-years-champagne-toastNew Year’s Eve celebrations typically have one thing in common: people expect a champagne toast of some kind right before the final countdown. The art of writing a great toast is not difficult, but you should start working on what you want to say now, so you have a chance to fine tune it.

  • Know Your Audience.  The most important thing to remember for any toast is to know your audience. A group of friends and family might like to hear a personal anecdote about something that happened in the last year, while co-workers want to hear blessings for a good year of business in 2015. Failure to tailor the toast to the audience makes it seem generic and bland.
  • Build Them Up, Then Take Them Down.  One of the primary rules of giving a speech is that you have to take the audience on a journey. In the case of your toast, you want to start your speech with something light, like a joke or a funny story from the previous year. This will get the audience to laugh and become emotionally invested in what you have to say. Be advised that off-color jokes and raunchy stories are unlikely to get you the positive response that you want from your toast. After the initial levity, you can move on to more serious topics, like wishing an ailing family member good health, telling your friends how much they mean to you and how you look forward to sharing the next year with them, or praising the work and dedication of your co-workers or employees. The more serious tone at the end is quickly lifted by the excitement of the ball drop, bringing your audience on a full circle of emotions.
  • Close With Words Of Wisdom.  Close out the toast itself with a line from one of the many famous figures in history and literature who spoke about the future. Benjamin Franklin and T.S. Eliot are great standards, but a Google search of the term “New Year’s Eve toasts” can help you find the right quote.
  • Practice.  The last thing you want to do is go over time and cut into the countdown. At the same time, you don’t want to be done so quickly that there is awkward silence between the end of your toast and the ball drop. Take the time to go over your toast, out loud with a private audience, so you can get a feel for the amount of time you need and how the audience will react. Practice also helps you to memorize the toast for the big night, so you won’t stumble through cue cards or worry about losing your prompt.
  • Keep It Simple.  No matter how good your toast is, the reason people are at the party is to ring in the new year, not to hear you speak. For that reason, you need to be sure to keep your speech as short and sweet as possible. The attention span of your guests may only be about 30 to 90 seconds. Anything longer than that and they will start to tune out and will miss out on your speech. A good rule of thumb is to make the toast no longer than 200 words, or about half a page of double spaced text.

In general, you need to project an aura of confidence when you start to speak. If you spent time in preparation, this shouldn’t be a problem and your toast will go off without a hitch.

The Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine

the-difference-between-champagne-and-sparkling-wineCould you, if put on the spot, tell the difference between champagne and sparkling wine? If not, the difference between the two could be far more intuitive than you realize.

Differences Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine 

Champagne is a type of sparkling wine that comes from the Champaign region of France. That’s really the chief difference between champagne and sparkling wine – champagne comes exclusively from the Champagne wine region.

Secondary Fermentation Vs. Carbon Dioxide Injection.  There are some other differences, though.  Champagne usually gains its fizzy properties from a natural process known as secondary fermentation.

With sparkling wine, contrastingly, you sometimes will get carbonation through a man-made process of carbon dioxide injection. There’s nothing intrinsically dangerous about carbon dioxide or injecting it into drinks – that’s how most sodas get their zing!

There’s actually more to the differences between champagne and sparkling wine that this processes of secondary fermentation (champagne) or carbon dioxide injection (sparkling wine).

Appellation Rules and Grapes.  The appellation – the geographical marker that designates the region in which the grapes were grown and harvested – of champagne differs from sparkling wine in a few important ways.

Champagne often uses pinot meunier (black wine grapes) or pinot noir (red wine grapes) to ultimately produce champagne. Green-skinned chardonnay grapes from the Champagne region of France are also sometimes used to make champagne.

The champagne in the Champagne region of France has been associated with France’s aristocracy for over four hundred years. In fact, appellation rules and labeling are taken very seriously and it’s illegal to falsely claim that your champagne derives from the Champagne region of France when it, in fact, does not.

Advantages of Sparkling Wine: Variety and Flavor.  A good way to think about the difference between champagne and sparkling wine is to say that all champagne is sparkling wine whereas not all sparkling wine derives from the Champagne region and can therefore be called champagne.

In many ways you could actually get more variety from sparkling wine than you can from champagne since sparkling wines are created around the globe. Austria, for instance, is a leader of high-end sparkling wines.

Flavor.  In terms of the flavors that champagne and sparkling wine offer, some people believe champagne has more of a creamy, nutty flavor whereas sparkling wine can have more of a fruity kick.

Price and Pairings.  Sparkling wine tends to be more affordably priced and more versatile in terms of pairings and the array of foods that go well with sparkling wine.

Cava (spanish wine) and prosecco (sparkling white wine) tend to be some of the more versatile kinds of sparkling wine. They go great with richer desserts as well as spicier entrees.

Recap of Differences 

Summing up, the chief difference between champagne and sparkling wine is that the former comes exclusively from the champagne region of France.

Sometimes sparkling wine is given its fizzy properties from a process known as carbon dioxide injection whereas champagne usually goes through secondary fermentation to get its bubbly qualities.

Sparkling wine comes from all around the world and has a greater versatility when it comes to the time of day in which it can be sipped and the food that it can be paired with.

What to Know When Buying a Champagne Refrigerator


Champagne, the “sparkling wine,” was meant to be served chilled. Proper etiquette calls for keeping it, and serving it, at just the right temperature. This is key to ensuring each glass of champagne served may be an experience of bubbly vivacity.

Champagne Etiquette

When toasting a special occasion or event, champagne is the correct choice. Choose the right glass, as well–champagne should be served in a fluted glass, to concentrate the flavors and encourage a healthy flow of bubbles. Before serving, champagne should be chilled: traditional or vintage champagnes, like the original French, should be chilled to a temperature between 39 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit, while non-vintage, and sweeter interpretations should be chilled to around 46 or 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to pour correctly. Champagne tends to be fizzy, and even foamy if you’re not careful. Start by pouring just a little bit in your guest’s glass, let the bubbles settle, then fill the glass about two thirds full.

Keep the bubbly cold. A bottle chilled in a bucket filled halfway with ice, and half way with icy water for about twenty minutes prior to serving is the traditional way to chill most wines. The desired temperature can also be attained by placing the bottle in the freezer for about fifteen minutes, or for a couple hours in the refrigerator. But to achieve the best results, using an actual wine refrigerator is the perfect choice in techniques.

Choosing the Best Refrigerator

This will be the end result of a combination of your needs and tastes.

  • Determine what your bottle count is going to be. Do you serve champagne, or other wines frequently? If not, a smaller size will be preferable.
  • Is your wine cooler meant to make a statement? There are some very sexy wine refrigerators on the market today–some even feature ambient lighting, while others are very elegant, and mimic wood furniture.
  • Some refrigerators come with dual temperature zones, giving you options for different genres and flavors.
  • If you are remodeling, choosing your champagne refrigerator early will allow you to incorporate it into the new design, especially if you want the “built-in” look.
  • Know whether you are buying a thermoelectric or a compressor-based wine cooler. Most smaller coolers employ a thermoelectric system; these create less vibrations, resulting in fewer disturbances to your stock. Compressor-based coolers are more like a normal refrigerator, and are more ideal for larger coolers.
  • Choose a wine cooler that’s easy to clean.

Having the best champagne refrigerator will allow you to enjoy a bottle of bubbly anytime it suits you. Consider your needs and preferences before you buy, and remember you always get what you pay for–don’t go cheap, buy the best you can afford, and familiarize yourself with whatever model you have chosen. Champagne was meant to make spirits bright, and keeping it perfectly chilled  is the secret its success.

Why Is Champagne So Darn Expensive?

why-is-champagne-so-darn-expensiveAs a connoisseur of goods and services, the facts about products means something. You may be one who doesn’t take that much stock in something like a brand or a name. Still, you might be wondering why there is all this reverence for champagne. Why is this bubbly stuff so expensive? What is it about this particular beverage that keeps people coming back and consistently paying so much? It’s a good question and one that deserves closer scrutiny.

Facts: Just because something has a cork or is golden and sparkly, that does not make it “champagne.” In fact most of the time if you are drinking what you think is champagne it might not even be so. The fact is that this elixir comes from a very specific region of France; aptly named the Champagne region. This region of the world is markedly small and the costs of land here is among the most expensive anywhere in the world.

Another thing about this part of France is that it’s among the coolest wine regions in the world. The natural secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles we all know and love are a token of this climate. Still this small land area, unique climate, and cool temperatures make the amount of grapes you can grow here quite small. Supply and demand dictates that this specific type of wine made here is going to cost more simply because there is less of it to sell!

Process: Champagne is made by what’s known as “Methode Champenoise.” First the fermentation takes place in steel barrels. It is then followed by a secondary fermentation once it has been bottled; this process is yeast and sugar focused. Then there are four more processes that take place, aging, riddling, disgorging and dosage. This lengthy strategy for making champagne is obviously going to drive up costs.

Labor: Another component to the high cost of this stuff is the labor that is involved. As if the makers were sticking their noses up at us, many of the most revered champagne houses still use manual labor for these processes. There are some houses or some sections that still use machines but in many of the finest bottles of champagne you will see that hand skilled labor cost passed on to you who’s holding the bottle.

So, when you take into account all of the different factors standing before you, holding this bottle of bubbly it should be no surprise that champagne is so expensive. Maybe the final mythic component to this high cost is that people continue to pay for it. If there were not such a high demand or the bottles just sat on the shelves, then the cost would inexorably come down. But that doesn’t appear likely to happen at any point in the near future because any time there is a real celebration; birthday, wedding, anniversary, engagement, holiday, etc. people will inevitably reach for that bottle of bubbly.

So, until there is no more reason for people to buy it you should just hold your nose at the costs and raise your glass high! Champagne is the nectar of the gods!

The Proper Way to Drink Champagne

the-proper-way-to-drink-champagneSome people drink champagne as casually as any other wine, and that’s a great way to enjoy it. For most of us, only special occasions call for sparkling and it’s normal to have some apprehension: am I pouring it right? Can my guests tell that I have no idea what I’m doing?

The good news is that we do have rules and best practices for enjoying and serving champagne. When in doubt, fall back on these “proper” ways to drink champagne:

Know your varieties.

You may already know that sparkling wine and champagne are not necessarily the same thing — the real stuff only comes from the Champagne region, according to French law — but there’s more worth knowing.

Traditional champagne consists of three grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. We think of it as a white wine, but it really comes from about two-thirds red grapes. Ah, the complexity.

Blanc de blancs uses only white grapes, while blanc de noirs uses mostly red pinot noir grapes. Other names generally refer to production methods.

Store it correctly. Champagne should be chilled, but not over-refrigerated. The best temperature range is 45° to 48°F, so if you do not have a wine chiller you can place the bottle in the fridge for a few hours before serving. To make it classier, use a nice ice bucket.

Besides the fact that you don’t want frigidly cold wine, the refrigerator also dries out the cork and ruins the bubbles. Saving the good stuff? Leave it in a cool, dark place until the occasion arrives.

Open it like a pro. No sword necessary; but the real trick is twisting the bottle while holding the cork, rather than the other way around. Professionals also swear by loosening, but not removing, the wire top.

Choose the right glass. Flutes serve formal and celebratory occasions, but only for style points. For regular enjoyment, use white wine glasses to let the champagne breathe a little.

Don’t overpour. Err on the side of smaller glasses and you’ll enjoy every sip with the right temperature and bubbles. Pour too much and the second half of your glass will get warm and flat.

If you pour heavy out of fear that the bottle itself will get flat, you need to upgrade your stopper.

Hold it by the stem. Pinky out, pinky in… it’s really up to you. Just don’t hold the bowl because it warms and alters the champagne.

Pair it with the right foods. The romantic view of champagne often leads people to drink it without food or with ironically bad choices like delicate foods and desserts.

Sparkling wine pairs best with savory, salty, fatty foods. A gourmet steak or a fried chicken sandwich would do equally well, and much better than a salad or slice of cake.

Know how to mix it. Mimosas aren’t the only way to go — you can create stunning combinations with St. Germain and other liqueurs, cognac, brandy, various citric and tart fruits, or other sweet-bitter additions.

Just be sure not to waste money on a complex, upscale champagne since you won’t be noticing all the flavors anyway. Stick with something dry and practice your pouring (you don’t want to use a jigger with something sparkling).

Remember that champagne is a wine meant to be enjoyed — not a sticking point for good manners. The rules exist not to exclude anyone, but to make sure everyone can discover the best route to great-tasting champagne in every glass.

The Dreaded Hangover

the-dreaded-hangoverMost people who consume alcohol sooner or later have the experience of taking in just a wee bit too much during a party or celebration. The result is quite often that most dreaded of morning-after discomforts: the hangover.

What is a hangover exactly, and how can we increase our enjoyment of alcoholic beverages by avoiding the sometimes unpleasant after-effects?

What Is A Hangover?

People experiencing hangovers manifest diverse symptoms, from headache, to nausea and vomiting, to fatigue and dehydration. Dehydration is, by the way, one of the main reasons for a hangover. Hangovers can make it difficult to get out of bed, to get to work or school, or to perform essential tasks. Feelings of irritability and dizziness can impede work and school performance.

Hangovers are caused by the presence of a toxic chemical, ethanol, in alcoholic drinks. This chemical not only causes the “high” feeling we experience when we drink but is also a diuretic that causes you to urinate more frequently, thus becoming dehydrated and experiencing some of the mentioned symptoms. As it moves through your digestive track, ethanol is absorbed in the blood. Your liver must process the ethanol and remove it from your blood. More alcohol than the liver can filter means it travels to throughout our bodies, including to the brain, creating that drunk feeling.

Organic  molecules produced during the fermentation process, including methanol, tannins, acetone, esters and other compounds — all of which contribute to the taste and aroma of alcoholic drinks — may also add to the hangover symptoms of grogginess or headache. The presence of higher levels of these substances, also called “congeners,” can make a headache or other symptoms worse. Tests seem to indicate that although the level of congeners has little impact on performance, more congeners do make hangovers worse. For instance, vodka has fewer congeners than bourbon, and thus bourbon appears twice as likely to cause sickness as the same amount of vodka.

You may have heard that champagne and sparkling wine can induce a worse hangover than other types of wine. Although scientists are not sure why, this may be true. It’s something about the bubbles. Bubbles in sparkling drinks are, after all, carbon dioxide, which helps you absorb the alcohol faster. thus magnifying the hangover. One way to cut down on the number of bubbles consumed is to serve champagne in a glass with a wider bowl rather than a flute. The wider bowl allows more bubbles to escape, so you don’t get drunk as fast, and the potential for hangover will be diminished.

All types of alcoholic drinks, be it hard liquor, wine or beer, can give you a hangover. The key for avoiding a hangover is to avoid consuming too much alcohol.

Avoiding Hangovers

Everyone has a different threshold for tolerating alcohol, but the low-risk practices listed below are helpful for all sippers of alcoholic beverages for avoiding hangovers.

  • Keep track of the number of drinks and ounces of alcohol you consume. There are guidelines for body weight to help promote lower-risk consumption habits.
  • Food slows down your alcohol absorption rate. Always eat before you drink.
  • Avoid “rounds” or “flights,” which make it harder to track your consumption.
  • Drink water between alcoholic beverages to counter dehydration.
  • Stop drinking alcohol well before you plan to depart from an event or before you go to bed. Give your body time to metabolize the alcohol before bedtime so you can fall asleep.

You can enjoy champagne or any kind of alcoholic beverage without concern for a hangover if you develop drinking practices that minimize exposures to health or safety risks.

Identifying Different Types of Champagne

Identifying Different Types of Champagne

There is a fine line that can be drawn between champagne and sparkling wine. While sparkling wine can come from anywhere in the world, champagne can only come from the Northern France region of Champagne. The fizzy cocktail comes in many varieties, but it is not as hard to tell them apart as you may think. There are a few ways you can identify the subtle differences in this increasingly popular drink.

Non-Vintage Champagne

Non-vintage champagne is made every single year by producers, whether the harvest is good or bad. When poured into a glass, this brand’s bubbles dissipate quickly and will have a very distinct taste of citrus flavors. Honeysuckle and candied orange peel will cover your tongue with its acidic backbone and it comes from a different blend of wines.

Vintage Champagne

Vintage champagne is different than non-vintage in the sense that it is only produced in years that are considered to have a very good harvest. To give the champagne its complexity, only the current year’s grapes are used to produce this wine. Fermentation comes from the aging process when the wine is in close contact with the yeast, adding certain characteristics to the wine. When you open a bottle of vintage champagne, you will notice a more pronounced aroma of yeast on your nose and it will have a strong breadiness taste to it.

Tete de Cuvee, or Prestige Champagne

This is the best wine that a champagne producer will yield. Tete de Cuvee means Head Of The Year and these fine wines are only made every three to four times in a decade, during exceptional years only. Brands such as Dom Perignon carry this prestigious title and if you have ever had a glass of Dom, you will notice that the bubbles are much smaller and will linger for a considerable period of time. Prestige champagnes have a scent that is reminiscent of ripe peaches and fresh baked bread. These wines are also aged for a longer time in order to mature them beyond any other vintage brands.

Rose Champagne

There are several champagne houses that produce Rose Champagne. Since two of the grapes used to make this wine are red, exposure to the skins of these grapes are all that is needed to produce a Rose Champagne. The smooth citrus scent will heighten your sense of smell when you open a bottle of Rose, and you will notice a strong peach and under-ripened strawberry aroma accompanied by mild yeast tones.

Becoming a champagne connoisseur isn’t as difficult as it once seemed to be. Distinction among the various wines is rather easy to dictate once you know what to look out for. So, the next time you are in the wine aisle and are looking for a good bottle of celebratory champagne, you will now be equipped to make an educated and informed decision.

Too Much Rain and Champagne Grapes

too-much-rain-and-champagne-grapesToo much rain can bring fungus and mildew to the delicate grapes grown in the Champagne region of northern France. This area east of Paris and north of Dijon receives a cool, oceanic climate ideal for the fresh, crisp taste of French Champagne.

The primary grapes used for making the sparkling wine with the appellation of Champagne are:

  • Pinot noir
  • Pinot Meunier
  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris may be added
  • Arbane grapes can also be used in the blend

The wineries use skilled winemakers to produce unique blends of the fine sparkling wines using only 2,050 liters of the juice from a press of 4,000 kilograms of grapes.

Champagne weather

This region of France is located at about 49 degrees north latitude. Epernay, and Troyes are cities in this region of vineyards. Historic Reims is the unofficial capital of the Champagne-Ardenne region. Annual rainfall is in the range of 600-650 millimeters throughout the year. The average temperature is 11 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Complex weather patterns mixing a North Atlantic oceanic climate with some continental dryness keep the temperature around the same year-round. The vines in the Champagne region required this consistency. This region receives about 1,650 hours of sunshine each year. In contrast, Burgundy and Bordeaux receive around 2,000 hours of sun annually.

An early spring frost can kill the delicate buds and even ruin the vines. Champagne’s growers always keep an eye on the temperature. Less than normal rainfall will result in dried out grapes while too much rain will attract pathogens that can destroy the vines.

A fungal mycelium can develop when the soil is too wet. The result is a white, powdery mildew coating on the leaves of the vine. Black spots may also appear on the leaves and stalks. The tender grapes can dry out since the mildew interferes with photosynthesis and transpiration.

Grapes that survive a mild mildew infection will not have the taste necessary for a good vintage. This can cost vintners millions of Euros and dollars since their sparkling wines are the major export from this region of France.

Changing weather patterns

The climate affects the flavor of the cuvee, the juice that will be fermented into sparkling wine. The grapes must be harvested on the right days for the ideal flavor. This is les vendages, an event that lasts for two weeks during August in the rolling hills of Champagne.

Climate change is a controversial issue with many opinions on natural and human-made influences. French wine grape growers are very concerned about the effect of even one or two degrees of warming trends on their vineyards. Harvest times have been earlier during the past few years according to several sources including, as a result of warming trends.

Scientists continue to study the effect of greenhouse gasses in this area of Europe and its relation to the earlier harvest season for grapes and other fruits. This is phenology, the study of changing seasonal natural phenomena, mainly weather, on plant and animal life. Studies on the effects of climate change with increasing rainfall are important to wineries around the world.

Winemakers in the Champagne region of France will hopefully continue to produce the famous bubbly drink that carries their region’s name.

How to Choose a Champagne

how-to-choose-a-champagneA good champagne can help make or break your next big party, dinner, or celebration. Champagne is a great choice for these kind of events, but choosing the right champagne can often be intimidating, especially to a beginner. With so many different types, brands and prices, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with how to choose a champagne. Thankfully choosing the right champagne is much easier than it looks. The following are just a few tips to help you find the right champagne for your next big event.

Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine

Before purchasing your Champagne, its important to note the difference (and similarities) between it and sparkling wine. Champagne with a capital “C” is produced only in the French Champagne region. These are typically more expensive than most, and are typically of a high quality. Sparkling wines produced elsewhere are also commonly referred to as champagne, but with a lowercase “c”.  However, this does not mean these are necessarily worse than those with a capital “C”.  It is simply a matter of geography, rather than quality. Many of these sparkling wines are labeled as “Methode Traditionelle“, meaning they are produced in the same manner as other Champagnes.

Try not to Focus on the Price

A common mistake that many wine enthusiasts and newcomers alike make is judging a bottle’s merit solely on its price tag. While it’s true that many higher priced Champagnes are great choices, you can also find a gem at a bargain. Just as sparkling wines are often just as good as French Champagne, don’t dismiss that $15 bottle of Champagne so readily, many of these cheaper wines are as good or better than their $40 or $50 counterparts.

Dry or Sweet?

When most people think of Champagne, they tend to imagine a dry, bubbly white wine. However, Champagne actually comes in a wide range of sweetness levels. The driest of which is known as Brut or Extra Brut.  Sweeter wines are known as Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux. Deciding between a dry or sweet Champagne comes down to a couple of factors, the most important of which is simply personal preference. Many people dislike the dry taste of Brut, and opt for a Sec Champagne or sweeter, which is great if you have a sweet tooth.  You should also consider how you are serving your Champagne when choosing its sweetness. Dry Champagnes are great on their own and pair well with food, while sweeter Champagnes go great with dessert or for serving after a meal.

What’s So Great About Dom Perignon and Cristal Champagne?

whats-so-great-about-dom-perignon-and-cristal-champagneFor champagne lovers around the world, two of the bubbly names that top the list are Dom Perignon and Cristal. These high-priced champagnes both offer exceptional flavors and aromas, but their appeal is quite different to true connoisseurs of the world’s best wines and champagnes.

Dom Perignon.  The history of Dom Perignon is as intriguing as it’s distinguished reputation. In 1868 in Champagne, France, a young monk named Pierre Perignon was appointed procurator of the wine cellars at Benedictine Abbey. Under his faithful watch until his death in 1715, his wine making techniques created one of the world’s greatest wines. Through the centuries, Dom Perignon gained recognition as the perfect champagne with a taste and reputation that was unequaled.

Dom Perignon, now produced by Moet & Chandon, is a brand of vintage champagne that serves as the producer’s prestige label. It stands out among vintage wines because it’s never produced in weak years, and all grapes used to make each bottle are always harvested in the same year. This special wine making technique produces exceptional quality and flavor in vintage champagne with rare bottles that date back to 1921. Since grapes are harvested each year, the flavor of Dom Perignon varies by label date. Hot, dry harvest seasons produced aromas of spicy, nutty flavors like sandalwood, praline and marzipan, while wet harvest seasons produced floral bouquets with hints of vanilla, honey and almond.

The perfection of Dom Perignon lies in it’s grapes and harvest seasons. Only produced in certain years from 1921 to 2004, it is one of the most sought after champagnes in the world. Wine collectors and connoisseurs are willing to pay staggering prices for a bottle of Dom Perignon in certain vintage years.

Cristal.  Like Dom Perignon, Cristal also comes from the Champagne region of France. Started in 1833 by a young entrepreneur, Louis Roederer, these wines developed with rich, flavorful, fruity flavors in contrast to the more pungent flavors of Dom Perignon. Instead of putting focus on the grapes and harvest seasons, Louis Roederer put his focus on the soil where vineyards were nurtured with rich, robust soil that produced a different caliber of grapes.

In 1876, Louis Roederer II made a special champagne with a subtle, fruity flavor for Tsar Alesander II. As a huge success, the special blend was christened “Cristal”, and it paved the way for a different type of taste and aroma that had not been seen before in the world of great wines.

Cristal is a balanced blend of Chardonnay (40 percent) and Pinot Noir (60 percent). Produced only during years when grapes reached perfect maturity, Cristal has a delicate balance with a silky texture and fruity aroma. Flavors are enhanced by a high mineral soil content that brings out citrus notes. Cristal Rose, a blend of Chardonnay (45 percent) and Pinot Noir (55 percent) offers a smooth sweet flavor that brings out hints of red fruits, white flowers and sweet caramel. All Cristal champagne is aged for at least six years and left for eight more months to age. A welcome note to collectors and connoisseurs, Cristal can be stored for more than twenty years in the right environment without losing any freshness or flavor.