What’s the Right Temperature for Champagne? It Depends.

Champagne and cheese spread
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Champagne is a famous go-to wine for pairing with myriad foods and flavors, and often an easy choice for meals. But among the pros, there’s more to it than pulling it out of the fridge and popping the cork.

Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, chef de caves and executive vice president of production at Louis Roederer, finds that temperature impacts Champagne’s affinity with different dishes.

“Our experience shows that service temperature is essential, as it interplays with all the elements of the wine and food—how the bubbles feel, the overall texture, freshness, bitterness,” he says. “Playing on temperature allows you to amplify—or not—some aspects of wines and food. It is a real way to increase the experience and make it stunning and unique.”

Though some recommend that Champagne be served between 43–48˚F, Lecaillon says that a slightly higher temperature, 50–54˚F, brings out its richness and depth.

Here’s how this expert pairs Champagne with traditional French foods.

Ideal Champagne serving temperatures

Smoked salmon: “Serve it on the low side, around 50˚F (wine refrigerator settings), to amplify the salinity.”

Foie gras: “You want to bring out the fruit, so try it closer to 54˚F.”

Cheese: “It’s best in-between, around 52˚F.”

Charcuterie: “If you cut by machine into thin slices, you should play on the lightness with a lower temperature. If it is sliced by a knife, it is more textural and smoky, so you want the fuller flavor and texture of the Champagne at a slightly higher temperature.”

How to pair classic Champagne styles

Blanc de Blancs: “Made only with white grape varieties, it works with lobsters, langoustines or prawns. The texture of shellfish is a perfect match with the citric, fresh minerality of these wines.”

Rosé: “Try with dishes that have a sweet-and-sour element. With its texture and tannins, Champagne rosés are fantastic players with duck, game and Chinese food.”

Vintage: “Produced only in years where conditions are right, every vintage has its own unique character that might make it exceptionally pair-worthy with certain dishes—a good excuse to try a few.”

Published on September 3, 2019
Topics: Sparkling Wine
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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