My preference is for the Lehmann Jamesse tulip-shaped glassware, whose pointed base displays effervescence very effectively. But most importantly, the broad bowl of the glass enhances the bloom of aromatic development, which is then concentrated in the elegantly smaller neck of the glass. In addition, while suitably fine, the glassware is sufficiently robust to withstand many tastings.
Why Jamesse? The Head Sommelier at Domaine Les Crayères in Champagne, Monsieur Philippe Jamesse, designed the glassware.
How to test that it’s really the best? Smell the aroma development in a Jamesse glass compared to the same champagne in any other champagne glass. Your nose will decide which is better.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
If champagne appears to have no effervescence in the glass, the problem will almost certainly be with the washing of the glassware. The ideal champagne glass is one that has been washed in a dedicated glass washer with multiple rinses of hot water, dried with a lint-free (preferably linen) cloth used for this purpose alone, and then allowed to cool to room temperature. Hand washing with multiple rinses of hot water is also effectively. I always give the neck of lipsticked and food-smeared glasses a rub with water containing dissolved dishwasher powder, rinse very thoroughly – and then rinse again.
OPENING THE BOTTLE
Before opening, a bottle should be chilled to 6–8°C (43–46ºF) if non-vintage, 8–10°C (46–50ºF) if vintage. When opening the bottle, take care to prevent the cork flying wildly, which can damage eyes and other things. Loosen the wire cage (the muselet), which holds the cork in place, and gently ease the cork by rotating the base of the bottle while holding the cork and its loosened muselet firmly. When you hear the beginning of a soft and prolonged sigh, it heralds the gentle opening of a fine bottle in which maximum effervescence has been retained.
Although in the past, it was the fashion to pour into an upright standing glass, you’ll successfully retain more effervescence by tilting the glass to meet the pouring stream.
For reasons of hygiene, take care that the neck of the bottle does not come into contact with the top of the glass.
It definitely looks more elegant to clasp the bottle by its base as you pour, and you will find that it is easy when you put the base of the bottle in the flat palm of your dominant hand, and insert your thumb into the depression, known as the punt, at the bottom of the bottle. If using a napkin, ensure that the label is not hidden but visible at the correct angle, and therefore enticing to the prospective drinker. If a bottle is a little wet and slippery, or has a flat punt like Louis Roederer Cristal, hold it along the body of the bottle in the base of your palm.
HOLDING YOUR GLASS
Hold your glass by the stem. Doing so prevents your hand warming the champagne, expanding the size of the bubbles, and depleting the effervescence.