Champagne can indeed be a refreshing and exhilarating luxury beverage. However, drinking it ice-cold like Coca-Cola means that you might miss out on discovering its full potential.
If the Champagne is too cold, you risk losing out on the smooth, full-bodied character that it may possess. Instead, the aromas won’t evaporate and you’ll be left with a bland and potentially bitter wine. Conversely, if the Champagne is too warm, you may experience a heavy, alcoholic and overly sweet wine.
In this quick guide, you will learn the optimal temperature for drinking Champagne as well as how to maintain it.
What Is The Best Temperature For Champagne?
Not every Champagne should be served at the same temperature. Remember that there are non-vintage blends as well as mature vintage Champagnes. Due to their properties and varying degrees of complexity, they should be served at just the right temperature to enjoy what they have to offer.
Best Non-Vintage Champagne Temperature
- Ideal Temperature Range: 8 – 10°C (46.4°F – 50°F)
- Fridge Cooling Time: 4 hours approx
- Freezer Cooling Time: 15 minutes
- Ice Bucket Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Serving your Champagne only slightly chilled between 8 and 10°C (46.4°F – 50°F) will reveal a good Champagne’s true nature. This represents around just four hours in a typical refrigerator at a normal setting. If you’re in a hurry, 15 minutes in the freezer ought to do the trick.
Traditionally, Champagnes are cooled in an ice bucket before serving. Read the section below to learn about how to use an ice bucket properly.
Consider the quality of the Champagne that you’re tasting and use that to gauge the final temperature. Check the bottle when cooling by touching both the neck and the body. They should feel about the same when the Champagne is ready. If the body is cooler, it may need a little longer for the cold to disperse properly.
Best Vintage & Special Cuvée Champagne Temperature
- Ideal Temperature Range: 10 – 12°C (50°F – 53.6°F)
- Fridge Cooling Time: 3 hours approx
- Freezer Cooling Time: 10 minutes
- Ice Bucket Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Exceptional or vintage Champagnes are better served slightly warmer. Drinking a particularly good Champagne between 10 to 12°C (50°F – 53.6°F) will unlock its diverse aromas. Vintage Champagnes are very delicate. When served too cold, they stun the taste buds rather than absorbing into the palate.
An interesting exercise when testing any Champagne is to serve on the lower end of the temperature range. Let it warm up slightly as you taste over intervals. You will experience firsthand how its character changes according to temperature.
Note that lower quality wines tend to be served at colder temperatures. This often helps in concealing defects or masking lackluster delicacy. Conversely, superior wines with particularly complex structures are best served when slightly warmer.
How Do You Keep Champagne Cold?
Remember that once out of the refrigerator, you will have to maintain the Champagne’s temperature. The cheapest but most inconvenient solution is to simply put it back in once it’s started to warm up. However, part of the experience of tasting Champagne is admiring the bottle so you may prefer to keep it out. In that case, you may want to consider investing in either a sleeve or bucket.
Sleeves are the easiest and cleanest solution to maintaining your Champagne’s temperature. You keep them in the freezer and simply slip them over the bottle when it’s ready to serve. Furthermore, they’re flexible and can be flattened to save space. Unlike ice buckets, you don’t have to worry about the ice turning to water and making a mess.
Prices may vary from between as little as $10 for a basic sleeve to around $40 for something more elaborate. However, Amazon offers good quality Champagne sleeves for a reasonable $20. Just remember that Champagne bottles are wider than normal wine bottles. Therefore, make sure that if you already have a sleeve, it’ll be wide enough to fit over Champagne.
The only drawback of sleeves is that they may be lacking in elegance and conceal the label, which is a shame. Nevertheless, they’re economical in both space and value.
The more traditional choice for keeping your Champagne cool is a bucket. However, before you head to your DIY store or garden shed, Champagne buckets tend to be a little more presentable. Unlike sleeves, they are more fitting for formal occasions and maintain an air of elegance for the occasion.
However, they can be purchased on most budgets. Amazon offer stylish hammered stainless steel buckets for as little as $12. Alternatively, they can be made out of glass or acrylic. This allows you to admire the bottle due to their transparency.
If you prefer something a little more elegant, there are many ornate silver buckets. With a little research, you can pick up a vintage one or go for something more modern. However, these often require a higher budget and silver oxidizes easily when in contact with water so require regular polishing.
If you’re preparing for a major event, oversized buckets can hold a number of bottles. Furthermore, they are an elegant presentation solution.
How To Use An Ice Bucket For Champagne
Finally, note that you’ll need to have a large quantity of ice cubes to hand when you’re ready to serve. To fill an ice bucket, simply fill it half-way up with ice then to the handles with cold water. Ensure that you don’t overfill otherwise the Champagne bottle may cause the water to spill over.
Adding water is important as this is what causes the ice to melt and properly disperse the cold. Some sommeliers use a little trick to hurry up the process. Use a lot of ice, some rock salt and only a little water. This causes the ice to melt quickly into very cold water and chills the Champagne in under 10 minutes.
If you do choose an ice bucket, be sure to have a napkin handy to drape over the bottle. Use this to wipe water off the bottle when serving. It will avoid getting it all over the table and your guests.