Don't worry. Our expert is here to help.
From morning mimosas to midnight toasts, champagne is one of our favorite alcoholic beverages. It is delicious and, yeah, makes us feel all fancy. But we freely admit that we aren’t that well versed in the art of drinking it. (We’ve been known to pop a bottle or two of Andre in our day.) So we turned to Gaylord Lamy, the director of food and beverage at the Reserve, a champagne lounge slated to open in FiDi’s Langham hotel next week. He’s also French, so he knows this stuff cold — right down to the fact that it should always be served between 43 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
ON SERVING Lamy says the proper way to open a bottle is “to retain the cork from coming out too fast and to listen to the fizz coming out without hearing that pop.” And the nice visual isn’t the only reason to serve champy in flutes. “the shape helps retain the carbonation in the glass so that it doesn’t go flat like in a glass of wine. A wine glass is wider because you want the wine to breathe more, but you want champagne to keep that fizz.”
ON COST VS. QUALITY Turns out, you really can’t judge a book (or bottle) by its cover. “in many restaurants in france, you wouldn’t find some of the most popular brands you see in the us. Brand recognition definitely has an impact on people here, but the price and brand of it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a much better champagne.” If you’re looking to show off your good taste without shelling out big bucks, he recommends pommery, laurent-perrier, or moët et chandon.
ON CRISTAL We all know that popping a bottle is a surefire way to prove you’re a baller at the club. But is the rappers’ delight worth the hype? “it has a very nice history to it. It’s the only champagne bottle you’ll find that has a flat bottom and doesn’t have a punt, which is very rare considering that the punt is in the bottle to find that balance for the pressure,” he says. “a russian czar had it made for him because he decided he wanted to be original in the design. Cristal is a luxury brand, and it tastes like a luxury brand.”
ON WHEN TO INDULGE Lamy says champagne needn’t be reserved for special occasions. “champagne can be very flexible,” he says. “it is a mark of celebration, yes, but why not celebrate life every day?”
The Reserve :: The Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin St, Boston :: 617.451.1900
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