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All you wanted to know about champagne

Its snob value is indisputable, but there are many things about champagne that befuddle even its most frequent drinkers. Read on to know more about this bubbly.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2010 18:37 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Its snob value is indisputable, but there are many things about champagne that befuddle even its most frequent drinkers. “The first thing I’d like to emphasise is that champagne must come from the region called Champagne in France,” says Indian champagne connoisseur Rajeev Singhal.

“You often hear people saying ‘oh I don’t drink wine, I only drink champagne,’” adds his French colleague Daniel Lorson. “But we’re trying to educate people about how champagne doesn’t fall outside the world of wine, it’s definitely a kind of wine.”

They also debunk the myth that champagne is an aperitif. “Many five-star restaurants in the world offer champagne as part of breakfast buffet. It can be had at any time, not merely before a meal,” says Singhal.

As for that popular myth that champagne gets you drunk faster than wine, Singhal interjects, “Champagne has an alcohol level of 12 per cent. Many wines and other types of liquors have 13 and 14 per cent alcohol. In fact, it’s popular among women because it doesn’t get you drunk quickly.” “It would make you feel bubbly for sure, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for being drunk,” adds Lorson.

Ask the two champagne experts which Indian dishes they would recommend as being complimentary to champagne and they respond in sync, “Indian cuisine with its spicy flavours tends to overpower the delicate balance of champagne. Even a robust red wine would find it difficult to cut through the spices.”

But Lorson does have one unlikely exception. “I tried pakodas with champagne the other day, and found that it was a perfect match. The acidity of the wine cut through the creamy flavour of the batter quite nicely.”

Singhal adds, “Some kebabs that are barbequed and mildly spiced go well with champagne. As far a desserts go, I’ve tried sweets like badam halwa with a demi-sec, and it’s worked like magic.”

How to enjoy bubbly
* Appetiser: Serve paneerpakodas or fish fingers, alongside a platter of murgh malai tikka kebab. Can be paired with non- vintage Brut (sans annee)

* Main course: Try a vintage '98, preferably more pinot-based champagne as opposed to chardonnay, with a bhuna ghost or Hyderabadi biryani.

* Dessert: Demi-sec (not availabe in india) would go well with gulab jamuns. Or drink a rose champagne with fresh fruit salad.