Synonymous with famous Brits – the smooth Bond and the fabulous Patsy and Edie
Synonymous with famous Brits – the smooth Bond and the fabulous Patsy and Edie
Image: Supplied

What could be better in this weather than a cold glass of salmon pink bubbles packing perfumed notes of rose petals, raspberries and quince with lingering notes of tangerine? This October Bollinger is launching their new Vintage Rosé 2006, a very limited edition vintage blend of Pinot Noir (72%) and Chardonnay (28%); made from nine of the very best Grands and Premiers Crus and blended to form a unique cuvée.

Although synonymous with famous Brits – the smooth Bond and the fabulous Patsy and Edie - Bollinger is a proud French brand founded in 1829 in the Aÿ-Champagne region of France by Hennequin de Villermont, Paul Renaudin and Jacques Bollinger. Since its inception, a member of the Bollinger Family has always run the house, including my favourite, Lily Bollinger, the wife of founder Jacques’ grandson, who once said:

“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

(I most definitely would have been her friend.)

Although we cannot wait to drink this when we too are thirsty, with great taste comes great responsibility. Over the last few years overall etiquette has been on the decline (millennials, hey) but we think it’s time reclaim the proper way of doing things and make manners sexy again. Also it will make you seem super classy and smart when you bust these knowledge moves out with your friends during this social season.

We asked Ginette De Fleuriot of The Vinimark Wine Company and Anouk Westeel of Bollinger for insider tips on the best way to drink Champagne:

No Place Like Home
Unlike other wines, Champagne has to be kept standing in a cellar, according to De Fleuriot. Also, there is no point in keeping a bottle of Champagne for years, as once it’s been bottled, it won't get better. Westeel recommends storing your Champagne in a cool and, most important, dark place. Avoid strong temperature variations.

Some Like it Cold
To fully appreciate the unique style of the Bollinger Champagnes, their bouquet and aromas, serve them between 8 and 10°C, says Westeel.

Not with a Bang But a Whimper
Opening the bottle the proper way will ensure you avoid creating a spray, injuring someone with the cork, or spilling a drop of this precious liquid, declares De Fleuriot. For the best result, hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, grasp the champagne cork gently with the one hand and turn the bottom of the bottle firmly with the other. Be sure to twist the bottom of the bottle slowly, until you feel the cork gently release into your hand.

(I, Sylvia, am more of a party sabrage girl myself but do not recommend it for this vintage, nor in general for the unpracticed or the faint-hearted.)

Flute, Coupe or Tulip
You will be disappointed to hear that no, the coupe glass is not in fact molded off the breast of Marie Antoinette as retold by legend nor is it the best glass to enjoy the Vintage Rosé 2006, according to Westeel.

Bollinger recommend that you drink their Champagnes in tasting glasses such as their Elisabeth glass.

“This glass was developed by our cellar master Gilles Descôtes in collaboration with Lehmann, to fit the Bollinger wines: The wide bowl enhances the aromas and the narrow top concentrate them. The very thin and delicate rim refines the tasting sensations.”

Cheers, Y’all!
Believe it or not, in Champagne toasting etiquette, the clinking of your glass is optional. De Fleuriot explains that if you’re a guest, you may choose to clink or not, depending on the hosts and other party-goers. And as with most hosting etiquette, if you’re a host the best rule is to be sure the guests are happy.

Listen to Lily
Although often served at the beginning of any fancy do, it is very important to note that Champagne is definitely not to be reserved for special occasions. De Fleuriot (and Lily) insists it can be enjoyed at any time of the day – with or without food.

But if you want to pair it with food Westeel suggests that the Bollinger Rosé 2006 is perfect with:

-   Fish and seafood: lobster, crayfish, salmon
-   Refined Japanese / Asian cuisine
-   White meat and poultry in light sauce
-   Fruit based desserts and pastries

Think Pink
Rose vs Bollinger Special Cuvee? “Both,” says De Fleuriot. “Rosé Champagne was first created in the 1960’s but it is appreciated by wine lovers the world over – even at a more premium price. And don’t assume that it is sweet because it is pink. It is not!”

Special Mention:

A Rosé by Any Other Name
This one is all me (Sylvia): Stop calling sparkling wine Champagne, it’s not even legal to do so. I adore local sparkling wines and MCC’s and most definitely believe they should be celebrated but they are not Champagnes. Champagne, like Bollinger, is special magical thing only to be called as such when following the highest of French standards and from the Champagne region. Just like no one locally could ever be a couturier - not even your talented tannie hand stitching clothes in Centurion – neither is anything with bubbles in it automatically Champagne. The end.

The Bollinger Rosé 2006 will be available from 1st October at select wine specialist stores in Cape Town and Johannesburg, retailing at approximately R1500.

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