These days, gourmets are busy writing grocery shopping lists for the last days leading up to Christmas, and culinary chatter about recipes and menus can be heard all around.
Some of us are already busy in the kitchen preparing food for the delicious meals ahead. Others prefer hiding in the quiet of their wine cellars, searching for wine and champagne to pair with the menu, seeking an empty corner for the latest wine purchase, or wondering whether they should age the new entries or uncork them at the upcoming festivities. And secretly, everyone from team kitchen to team cellar is preoccupied with the same hammering question:
How can we best prepare to spend stress-free Christmas Days?
Well, worry not, we’re here to help! If you’re planning a joyful Champagne Christmas with wonderful food and wine pairings, this checklist will help you organize the coming days without forgetting the most significant details for merry champagne moments.
Start by making a list of all the courses you plan to serve. Once the menu is on paper, note the wines and champagnes you have already selected to serve, and allocate each wine to a particular course. If you don’t have a pairing idea for a dish yet, you can simply note the style of wine you’d like to match. This list will be the base of your organization over the coming days. It will help you spot and fill in the blanks needed for a successful menu and wine service.
Consider stocking up with a second bottle of the same champagne, or choose a magnum bottle as a special treat – or another big format depending on the number of guests. Read more about the upsides of big formats in our article Big Bottles for Maximum Champagne Pleasure: Magnums, Jeroboams and Methuselahs for Memorable Parties and Celebrations.
Here are five of our latest limited edition prestige cuvées that will make your holidays even more special:
Using your checklist, you should start your last-minute shopping as early as possible to complete your holiday menu’s wine and champagne pairings. Have a look at the last shipping dates in our online shop to have your champagne delivered right to your door.
A standing apéritif with many invitees can quickly turn into glass chaos when everybody places their glass next to someone else’s. If you don’t have a lot of fresh glasses for replacement, it’s advisable to use glass markers to make sure that everybody will find their glass when it’s time to take it to the dinner table. Use a non-permanent glass marking pen to add the names or initials of your guests discreetly to the foot of their champagne glass, or tie bows in different colors to your stemware.
Only a few days are left until the holidays and slowly but surely chaos is giving way to the pleasant anticipation of a sparkling champagne Christmas. With enough wine, champagne, and glasses gathered, there are only two things left to prepare in advance.
A clean microfiber cloth helps to eliminate tiny scale stains and small dust particles from your wine glasses. Gloss up the decadent stemware and store the glasses, preferably upside-down, in a dust-free space until use.
Depending on the wines and champagnes you choose, a wine opener and decanter may be necessary, and a serving tray may be helpful to discard foils and corks elegantly. The good thing about champagne is that you don’t need special tools to open a bottle (unless you want to saber your bottle, of course). A stylish champagne cooler, however, can be both a decorative and practical way of preserving the serving temperature of your opened bottles.
Christmas is here, and relaxation is on the horizon! Most likely, all the ingredients for the Christmas menu have been transformed into delightful preparations that await your guests. You can pin your checklist to the fridge so you do not lose sight of your delicious plans during a day of culinary delight.
If you don’t have a dedicated wine fridge, the most convenient time to slide the bottles into your regular refrigerator is in the morning. If the bottles have been sitting at room temperature, they will need approximately four hours to come down to serving temperature. The stress-free option is to prepare the bottles early in the day and forget about them until you’re ready to pour.
Arranging glasses at the dinner table comes almost naturally. However, it’s easy to forget to put glasses in other places where we will need them, for example, the designated apéritif spot where we want to welcome guests. Simply place a tray of glasses in a corner of your open kitchen or living room, on the terrace in front of a bonfire for stylish champagne pauses during a long seated meal, or in a cozy lounge corner with armchairs for philosophical talks after a long festive meal. This will save you more time to spend with your guests.
Although we all love the precious bubbles that have taken so long to develop inside the bottle and don’t want them to dissipate, some champagnes show additional depth and complexity when decanted. Oxidative champagnes with a strong winey character can be aerated for approximately 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Unlike the large decanters used for bold red wines, champagne decanters should be narrow to limit the surface. Bottles should be transferred carefully to preserve the effervescence as much as possible.
One common mistake to avoid is serving champagne so cold that the delicate aromas are compromised. That said, think of taking your bottles out of the refrigerator and placing them in a wine cooler in time. While non-vintage champagne is best served at 8 to 10 degrees Celsius, other styles benefit from slightly higher temperatures. Delicate rosé d’assemblage champagne shines at around 10°C, while full-bodied rosé de saignée shows more of its abundance around 12 degrees Celsius, just like bold vintage champagne. Old vintage champagnes are allowed 12 to 14 degrees Celsius to show the full panel of aromatic depth, spice, and complexity.
Once the first guests arrive, it’s finally time to pop the first bottle. Take into consideration that the serving temperature in the glass rises quickly after pouring, so it’s better to top up regularly instead of pouring a large glass right away. Add a bottle stopper to avoid losing the bubbles and store the open bottles in your ice cooler to have them handy throughout the evening.
After all these long days of busy Christmas preparations, it is now time to enjoy the holiday fun. Make sure you leave room for some amusing mishaps and embrace all the unexpected surprises the festive days may bring. And always remember: a bottle of champagne helps overcome every challenge or obstacle.
Happy holidays to you and yours!