When is the best time to drink Champagne?
22nd February 2021
Champagne seems to get away with being the drink that is acceptable to be seen enjoying at any time of the day and any situation. From breakfast to dinner, toasting celebrations at weddings or to fine memories of a past family member – Champagne cuts it far more than being spotted with a gin and tonic at the breakfast bar or a raising a pint of beer at a Christening.
Gourmet professionals worldwide will have recipes that are specifically suited to pairing with Champagne and this includes the likes of scrambled egg with salmon for breakfast (I have enjoyed this at many hotels I have reviewed) to lunch time and dinner gastronomy meals offering fish delights to dreamy desserts.
On its own to battling against greasy fish and chips, Champagne fits in well to most of our plans – If cocktails are your thing then Champagne will be on the menu also with famous examples including French 75.
“I have tasted well over 2,000 different Champagnes now and surprisingly enough, tasting them professionally, the best time for me to enjoy them is later morning time and leading up to lunch. If I am enjoying Champagne without my journalist hat on, then later afternoon to early evening during a relaxed environment is preferred. The great thing is that we have choice when we wish to enjoy Champagne so it really is down to whatever suits you best.“
Wine o’clock for many will be the evenings or weekends, once we have finished our working day, we would see it as at least from 6pm that we need to wait until we are caught red handed with a glass of alcohol in our hand, though of course holidays / special occasions / totally stressful days could lead us to start drinking earlier in the day.
On a professional level, those of us who taste Champagne as part of our work, then the known time zone that we are advised to review Champagne is from 11am to 1pm. Of course we can also taste prior and after, depending on the volume we are tasting, we will still be able to enjoy the finer details of Champagne.
The best time to taste Champagne is between 11am to 1pm
It is important that our mouths / palate is clean when we taste Champagne, by this I refer to devoid of other tastes such as if we have just eaten / drunk coffee / smoked / used toothpaste etc. During the hours of 11am to 1pm your mouth is likely to be drier and at it’s most optimum for receiving and communicating the flavours of Champagne, as we progress later in the day we are more likely to have tainted things with the mentioned above.
Without question this is a fact that does prove to be correct, your palate is very much awake to the magnificent flavours of Champagne, alert to characterising the varied flavours of each as well as receiving the aromas. If you are tasting Champagne professionally you are usually looking to clear the timeslot of 11am to 1pm, breakfast/coffee and teeth brushing would have occurred earlier in the morning and lunchtime would be booked for 1pm onwards – I rarely see anyone smoking during these times and you’ll likely not meet anyone who’s perfumed themselves thus confusing aromas/tastes.
If you can, reduce your Champagne consuming times (most professional Champagne tasters will use the ‘taste and spit’ method) and if you would like a small glass each day then do so just prior to dinner which will help to increase your appetite and likely that your palate is relatively fresh.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.