Five Fascinating Things You Might Not Know About Champagne

We’re celebrating Quantum of the Seas’ christening with a few fun facts about bubbly. Cheers!
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A ship can’t officially launch without the ultimate toast.

Per centuries-old maritime tradition, new ships must be given a ceremony, which often involves naming the vessel and christening it with the aim of bringing good luck, safe travels and calm weather to the journeys that lie ahead. Though early reports in Great Britain mention breaking a bottle of wine across the ship’s bow, Champagne eventually became the celebratory beverage of choice.

Today, cruise lines continue this tradition with star-studded naming ceremonies; on Friday, Royal Caribbean International will christen its newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, with a bottle of Perrier-Jouët. The ship’s godmother, Kristin Chenoweth, will lead the proceedings and guests throughout can toast good fortune at Vintages wine bar, which serves Perrier-Jouët, as well as Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot, Taittinger Blanc de Blanc, and Krug.

Loving the look of vintage Champagne coupes? They aren’t ideal for bubbly.

Thanks to a Mad Men-inspired resurgence, elegant, goblet-like Champagne coupes are making a comeback. Thing is, flutes do a better job of concentrating the bubbles as well as the wine’s bouquet — it can go flat and get warm quicker in a coupe.

No flute or coupe to be found when you’re ready to toast? No matter. Alder Yarrow, founder and editor of Vinography.com prefers another option altogether: “Champagne actually tastes best from a normal white wine glass.”

Same goes for opening a bottle—the sexiest option isn’t the best.

Pop a cork across the room, and it can turn into a 40 mph projectile. While it might seem like the way to get a party started, your guests in the line of fire will likely disagree. Better and safer? The easy, slow twist. Hold the bottle in one hand, wrapped in a dishtowel or napkin if you’d like. “Very slowly ease out the cork so the pressure in the bottle is relieved,” Yarrow says. “It has been said that the sound of a bottle of Champagne opening should sound like the ‘sigh of a well-contented woman.’” We’ll toast to that.

Champagne and cake aren’t a match made in heaven.

Sparkling wine in general pairs well with a long list of foods. “Champagne is one of the most versatile food wines in the world,” Yarrow says. “It’s wonderful with seafood, pastas, and — if it’s older Champagne — even some meat dishes.” Wedding cake, on the other hand? Not so much. Epicurious named Champagne and chocolate cake with buttercream icing one of the top five worst wine pairings, writing “The Champagne is relatively tart, the cake is super-sweet, and it’s like World War III in your mouth.”

Bubbly is bubbly — but the real deal is only produced in France.

“If you’re talking about wine regions around the world, then you’re not talking about Champagne,” Yarrow says. It’s a common misconception, and plenty of sparkling wine makers (even in places like Napa Valley) still use the name incorrectly. Truth be told, the word comes from France’s Champagne region, northeast of Paris, and all true Champagne hails from those parts.

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