Who doesn’t love a little bubbly with dessert or brunch? Once reserved for weddings and New Year’s Eve, Champagne is becoming increasingly popular for everyday drinking and smaller occasions. However, there are still a lot of myths floating around about this fizzy, bubble wine beverage. Here’s a closer look at those myths and the real truth that they’re masking.
Myth 1: Champagne gets you drunk faster than other wines.
Many people have come to believe that they’ll get sloppy a lot faster drinking Champagne than if they were to drink red or white wine. This is a myth, as champagne is 12% alcohol by volume on average. By comparison, red wine is usually about 13% alcohol and white wine is usually around 11.5%. If you drink 8 ounces of Champagne, you should not be any more or less drunk than if you were to drink an equal quantity of red or white wine. The thing is, most people drink Champagne faster than they drink wine, since the bubbles help it go down so easily. Moderate your drinking, and you should be just fine.
Myth 2: All carbonated wine is Champagne.
This may be true colloquially, but technically, there are many types of bubbly or sparkling wine and Champagne is just one of them. Champagne is made in the Champagne region of France from specific types of grapes. Other sparking wines include Cava, which is a Spanish specialty, and Prosecco, which is made in Italy. Carbonated wines made in Australia or the US are sold as “sparkling wine.”
Myth 3: Champagne must be served in a champagne flute.
Though you often see Champagne served in flute for special occasions, this is more for show than anything. To fully enjoy the nuanced flavors of the bubbly, it’s actually better to serve it in a wider white wine glass. This allows the drink to have more contact with your tongue as you sip it. There’s also more space for you to enjoy the aroma of the Champagne, which really enhances the experience.
Myth 4: There are two types of Champagne: sweet and dry.
There’s actually a whole spectrum of sweetness, so you can find a Champagne that’s a great match for your tastes. Usually, Champagnes are divided into five categories based on sweetness.
- Demi-Sec: This is the sweetest Champagne and is usually served with dessert.
- Sec: These Champagnes are slightly less sweet and may be a nice choice for breakfast.
- Brute: A good middle-of-the-road Champagne with sweetness comparable to Riesling.
- Extra Brute: These Champagnes are dry without too much bite.
- Brute Nature: The driest Champagnes fall into this category. Usually, these are paired with cheeses and meats or served with dinner.
Myth 5: Champagne should be served ice cold.
This myth probably comes from the images of Champagne bottles sitting in ice buckets at cafes along the French sidewalk. While you want your Champagne a bit chilled, serving it ice cold will just mask the more nuanced flavors. The drier the Champagne, the warmer you want to serve it. Brute Nature and Extra Brute Champagnes can be put in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. Sec, Brute, and Demi-Sec will be perfect if refrigerated for about an hour. There’s no reason to keep the bottle on ice unless the you’re outside where the temperature is soaring (as in those French photographs.)
The world of Champagne is a fun one to explore! Now that you know the truth behind these myths, feel free to sample different varieties in the glasses of your choice without that ice bucket by your side. Happy sipping!