Everyday Champagne

Meet Elise Losfelt — she drinks Champagne for a living. Credit: Leif Carlson
Meet Elise Losfelt — she drinks Champagne for a living.
Credit: Leif Carlson

Sure, we’re used to popping corks at times of celebration, such as weddings or New Year’s Eve. We might even open a bottle of bubbly for some sparkling mimosas to mark the start of our long-awaited weekend. But Elise Losfelt, one of only 10 specially trained winemakers for Moet & Chandon, explains why Champagne is meant to be a part of our everyday lives — and how to incorporate it into this summer’s favorite mealtime staples.

The first way to break down barriers with Champagne is to familiarize with standard non-vintages, like a white or rose. (They’re often the most affordable bottles on the shelf, characterized by their coloring rather than by their brand or year.) With these, all you need to do is get to know one house’s flavor profile. Once you’ve discovered what you like, it’s easy to pair that taste with your favorite foods. For beginners, Losfelt says that a non-vintage is “so easy to understand, easy to drink and so fresh.”

One highly underrated flavor is rose, though it’s an ideal gateway into the Champagne world. And it’s surprising easy to pair with summer standards, such as grilled and spicy foods. What’s an ideal pairing with rose that you might never expect? “Burgers, fries and tacos,” Losfelt confesses. “It has more power to answer to food; you can dare to play with it.” One reason is that despite Champagne’s complex profile, salt is one basic taste that it doesn’t naturally re-create. By adding it back to the mix, Losfelt informs, “You’re just enhancing all the flavors of Champagne.”

When taking a bottle to your next summer cookout, consider serving non-vintage Champagne alongside a rich barbecue sauce — just as long as it’s not too sweet. This sparkling wine has low sugar content, with about 9 grams of sugar per liter, so you don’t want to make its subtle flavor compete with added sweetness in your food. On that note: Skip the cake and strawberries, since choosing these sweet and acidic pairings is a novice mistake. Serve a pink sparkling wine with your everyday American picnic fare for an unexpected treat “if you want to shake your guests and show them what rose is capable of.” Plus, it’s a good alternative to calorie-laden cocktails for guests who want more of a guilt-free indulgence.

Once you have an idea of what you like in non-vintage Champagne, you can upgrade to a vintage bottle. With vintages, you’re looking for a specific year that you like rather than a specific house. A vintage offers “gastronomical power and aging potential,” says Losfelt. Each year is a rare and unique taste that’s only replicated under the banner of that one annual timestamp; once you’ve narrowed down your palate’s preferences, it’s always easy to buy because the year is featured prominently on vintage Champagne bottles — even above the wine type, brand name or any other decorative feature on the label.

Last but not least, the true Champagne connoisseur should eventually consider upgrading to an old vintage. At this stage, knowing exactly what you like “makes you understand the world of Champagne, and you will never go away,” Losfelt promises. Once you’ve conquered your own preferences with non-vintage, vintage and old vintage Champagnes, you’ll always be able to expertly play with your own food pairings — whether it’s a special event or just firing up the grill with pals on a warm summer night.

The nose knows

You don’t have to be a wine snob to talk about what you like in fine Champagne. The three pillars to touch upon when discussing its characteristics are the intensity of the aroma, the color and the structure. Losfelt says to look for:

•    Bright fruitiness
•    Acidic palate
•    Maturity



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

U.S. coastal flooding on the rise, government study…

By Ryan McNeill(Reuters) - Flooding is increasing in frequency along much of the U.S. coast, and the rate of increase is accelerating along the Gulf…

Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspect was dead after a shooting that left two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective wounded in the West Village Monday afternoon, officials said.

International

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth pulls off epic photobomb

The selfie / photobomb has gone viral.

Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

Television

Kacy Catanzaro credits mind over body in "American…

Kacy Catanzaro credits her victory to mental focus and upper body strength.

Entertainment

Q&A: The brains behind 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. We talked with Christopher Locke of Glu Canada to find out more about developing the game.

Movies

The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer is…

Watch 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Wellbeing

Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…

Wellbeing

Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…