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Just like with other great things in the world today, Champagne was created by accident in the 17th century. Because of the cold and long winters in the Champagne region in France, wine continued to ferment even after it was bottled. As a consequence, it would begin to fizzle—something winemakers at the time dreaded. A few centuries—and numerous successful marketing campaigns—later and the bubbly drink has become the drink of choice to hundreds of millions across the globe and a symbol of celebration and joy. After all, we are all looking forward to hearing that popping sound every December 31st to mark the arrival of the new year. So to help you serve the perfect glass of bubbly, we reached out to Moët Hennessy, owner of the best and oldest Champagne Maisons in the world (think Ruinart, Krug, and Dom Pérignon just to name a few).
“The slightest change in temperature can affect how you experience the flavor of a Champagne, even more than with still wines,” said Angela Sauve, the company’s brand education manager and storyteller.
“In the beginning, the fashionable drinking temperature was from six to eight degrees Celsius [43 to 46 ºF] and the bottles were served in elegant little containers called ‘Champagne coolers’ or in silver or porcelain buckets that were filled with water and ice. Wine at the time had a lot of added sugar, which did not ferment, so to combat this, it then became fashionable to drink Champagne frappé: very cold, at two or three degrees Celsius [37 ºF]. As the sugar levels started to drop, the temperature to serve began to rise, and now we enjoy our Champagne closer to the temperatures that the early enthusiasts first used,” she explained.
There are also three ways to open a bottle of Champagne—the most impressive of which is removing the top of a champagne bottle with a saber. The technique originated in the early 19th century when Hussars of the Napoleonic Guard started sabering Champagne bottles to celebrate their victories.
If this sounds a bit too flamboyant, though, try keeping the cage on while releasing the cork carefully and slowly. Eventually, the cork will pop and you can start pouring the Champagne.
To help you elevate this joyous tradition, keep reading for the most luxurious champagne accessories that our editors are shopping for right now.
Baccarat Harcourt Champagne Bucket
This opulent champagne bucket is certainly the perfect setting for your best bottle of bubbly during your New Year celebration. The mouthblown crystal bucket is accented by gold-plated handles and a vessel that fits a standard bottle of Champagne (or white wine).
To buy: $5,990, baccarat.com
Puiforcat Sommelier Champagne Bucket
For those who prefer the timeless elegance of silver, this Puiforcat silver-plated champagne bucket will add a sophisticated touch to your New Year celebration. It sports a clean, geometrical silhouette that fits most interiors so you can use it over and over again. You can also repurpose it as an ice bucket.
To buy: $3,050, bergdorfgoodman.com
Baccarat Jupiter Champagne Flutes
Toast the new year with these gorgeous Baccarat flutes that are sure to elevate your celebration. The beautiful detailing on the flutes as well as the rib stems truly showcases Baccarat’s crystal craftsmanship.
To buy: $330/set of 2, neimanmarcus.com
Puiforcat Pour Le Champagne Stopper
Preserve the aromas of your bubbly with this elegant Champagne stopper crafted from silver-plated metal and engraved with an intricate motif.
To buy: $440, kneenandco.com
Robbe & Berking Dante Champagne Tongs
Robbe & Berking’s German-made champagne tongs will assist you in cutting the foil and cage of the cork as well as popping it safely. The tool is crafted from silver-plated metal and features a hammered texture at the handles.
To buy: $365, kneenandco.com
Lalique 100 Points Champagne Coupes
If you are planning on spending the evening sipping on Champagne cocktails, then this beautiful crystal Lalique coupe will help you do it in style. It has a classic U-shaped satin-finished bowl and a beautiful frosted rib stem that creates a distinct contrast between the two textures.
To buy: $160, lalique.com
Christofle Malmaison Silverplated Caviar Server
It takes the masters at Christofle almost 24 hours of non-stop work to create this extraordinary silver-plated caviar serving dish of which only 200 pieces were ever produced. The name references Chateau de la Malmaison near Paris, the stately private residence of Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine. The two-piece set includes an ice bowl that holds a caviar crystal dish and a lid.
To buy: $1,400, scullyandscully.com
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2004
Made from a blend of Chardonnay Grands Crus from two regions in Champagne, this vintage Ruinart has sweet and gentle notes of chestnut and coconut as well as fresh aromas of flowers and citrus fruits. Sauve recommends serving this vintage a bit warmer—between 50 and 54ºF—as the extra degrees showcase the Champagne’s aroma and flavor nuances.
To buy: ruinart.com, prices vary
Berkel Black Champagne Saber
If you feel confident in your sabrage skills then this Italian-made saber is the perfect accessory to help you open a bottle of bubbly the clock strikes midnight. It has a forged stainless steel blade that will deliver a clean cut and a black buffalo horn handle.
To buy: $389, wayfair.com