The party of lovers requires a glass of bubbles, but be careful not to run into this series of possible mistakes
The candles are ready to be lit, some rose petal has been tactically scattered here and there between the various rooms of the house and the menu has been carefully developed, between voluptuous snacks and aphrodisiac suggestions. What is missing, therefore, to complete the picture of the perfect Valentine's dinner? The bubbles, of course. For the most romantic evening of the year, it is better to take a few whims and to aim for a quality sparkling wine. Maybe choosing a champagne, as tradition suggests, for a toast characterized by elegance and complicity. Attention, however: a fine bottle, ça va sans dire, also requires a series of attentions worthy of its rank. So it is better to avoid mistakes by beginners and review carefully these 10 basic rules.
1) The right temperature
A champagne must be served fresh, of course. But beware: fresh does not mean a step away from turning into a giant bottle-shaped ice lolly. The correct temperature of service varies between 8 and 10 degrees: to achieve it, dust off that silver bucket that you hold in the cupboard for about ten years, fill it with ice, water and salt and give your sparkling wine a refreshing bath of at least twenty of minutes.
2) No bang, thanks
It's not New Year's Eve, it's not going to start a train with the cry of Brigitte Bardot Bardot and no, you have not won a Formula 1 Grand Prix. To open your bottle, hold the cap firmly and start to extract it by rotating it back and forth little by little, without letting it escape. You will spare the chandelier in the dining room, an unpleasant fountain on the laid table and a too much noise.
3) Eye by the glass
The champagne cup is best left to those who still try to get an idea of the size of the breast of Queen Marie Antoinette. In 2019 it is better to choose a common white wine glass, or alternatively the characteristic tulip flûte. The goal is to preserve the aromas of wine for longer.
4) A clean glass, but in the right way
Perhaps not everyone knows it, but the way in which the glass is washed before the toast is essential to allow the aromas and sparkling wines to express themselves to the fullest. It is important not to use detergents that could leave residues on the glass, and do not help drying with a cloth: just a little 'hot water, then leave to dry the glass in total autonomy, upside down.
5) Pour carefully
Since it is assumed that in a romantic dinner neither of them intends to steal the bottle from the table and run away, it is better to pour the champagne into the glass with full knowledge. Remembering that yes, sparkling wines tend to overflow, and that no, you do not want to soak the tablecloth even before you start eating. So let's remember to pour in two times, making a few seconds pass before topping up, and never exceed two thirds of the glass. The effect "full to the brim" does not ease the toast and extinguishes the enthusiasm.
6) No to the empty bottle overturned
No, no, and no. The practice of putting the bottle upside down once you have poured everything its contents makes no sense. So save them hanging and keep some elegance.
7) The napkin that saves the tablecloth
Next to the ice bucket, remember to always keep a napkin. Possibly white, more chic, but at the bottom the color is not very relevant. What is important is to avoid splitting the whole tablecloth with water. This is why it is necessary to carefully dry the bottle before holding it and pour the wine into the glasses. Watering dishes and cutlery – let us remember – will not give birth to flowers from the table, but only a widespread sense of embarrassment and sloppiness.
8) A minimal table
Although it is Valentine's Day, the feast of love and lovers, it is not necessary to set with heart-shaped dishes, red napkins, flower-like curtains and a bouquet of 45 red roses as a centerpiece. Choose simplicity and let your champagne give the right touch of color to the whole. Golden or rosé it is.
9) Inform yourself, thank you
The sparkling wine can also be sublime, the label is beautiful, and the bottle is the most expensive that you have ever bought from graduation in this part. It is not enough. If your sweetheart should ask you some questions about the wine you have chosen, you will not be able to get away with answering that it is a champagne, and therefore it is French. Much wiser, therefore, to inquire in the least on the vintage and on the grapes, maybe even on the cellar, if you want to overdo it. Knowing the history of what you are about to drink, and knowing how to tell it, is a touch of class from true masters.
10) Sparkling bubbles throughout the meal
A glass of champagne is a perfect way to inaugurate a romantic evening, we know it well. But it can also go very well to accompany the rest of the dinner, from appetizer to second. Unless you have decided to propose a menu based on polenta and stew, but that's another story. Ask your wine shop for advice, therefore, to choose the bubbles best suited to dishes in anticipation. And remember that for the moment of dessert it is better to keep a more sugary sparkling wine in reserve, like a demi-sec. A winning idea, especially if you intend to end the evening with the classic flirt with strawberries, languid looks and soft music.
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