Celebrate the season with Champagne from the break of day till the final digestif

David Hesketh, MD and Master of Wine offers his top champagne pairing tips

~ The ideal start to the big day ~

With the festive season round the corner, party hosts across the nation will be kicking off the planning and preparation for all forms of Christmas entertaining. Master of Wine and Laurent-Perrier’s Managing Director, David Hesketh reveals the sparkling secrets to remember when celebrating with Laurent-Perrier Champagne.

From the perfect pairings to pouring prowess, read Laurent-Perrier’s festive guide to serving Champagne like a pro and celebrating in style this Christmas.

~ The first cheers - what to serve alongside Christmas day brunch: ~

Opt for something light, fresh and elegant for mid-morning sipping. A lot of champagne aficionados ask if it’s okay to serve Bucks Fizz? As long as it's fresh orange juice and good champagne, of course it is!

~ What to drink with Christmas Eve canapés: ~

Christmas is all about indulgence, so start festive celebrations with something special. What better way to start the festive celebrations than with a prestige cuvée such as Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle? Christmas lunch is often rather frantic, and so give the Grand Siècle time to be centre stage as the perfect accompaniment to Christmas Eve canapés.

~ What to drink with turkey: ~

Turkey and all of the trimmings require a champagne with more weight and flavour concentration, suggesting vintage rather than non-vintage champagne. Many vintage champagnes on the market are around 8 to 10 years old and will have been aged longer at the cellar, giving greater complexity and ability to complement an indulgent Christmas day feast.

~ What to drink with alternative roast meats such as goose: ~

Most people associate rosé with alfresco summer moments, however Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé is the perfect accompaniment to meats such as goose. Made from Pinot Noir grapes, the brief maceration of juice on skins gives an attractive rosé colour whilst the acidity and tannin cut through richness of the meat. What’s more, Cuvée Rosé is the perfect celebratory serve and the iconic bottle makes for the ultimate Christmas table centrepiece too.

~ What to drink alongside dessert: ~

Select a light champagne with some sweetness to counterbalance the richness of Christmas pudding. The Laurent-Perrier Harmony has the hallmark House style of freshness and whilst sweet it retains a lightness making it the perfect partner.

~ The best champagne to accompany the Christmas cheese board: ~

Champagne is not often considered a successful food match alongside cheese, and usually for good reason as cheese can easily overpower a delicate champagne. However, with a little thought, it can surprise. Stock up on a dry champagne such as Laurent-Perrier’s Ultra Brut. The marked acidity and prolonged aging make it suitable for serving alongside lighter blue cheeses and firmer Alpine cheeses.

~ The Perfect Serve ~

• The prime serving temperatures for different champagnes:
Chilling temperature determines the rate at which bubbles in a sparkling wine are released. Bubbly should not be opened at room temperature as the wine will quickly froth up and go flat, which is not ideal at Christmas! Chill the champagne down to 4.5 - 7˚C.

Emergency chilling of a sparkling wine by putting it in the freezer for fifteen minutes is absolutely fine for panicked hosts, however I’d usually recommend putting the bottle in a bucket of ice and water (never just ice though, as the water is essential for transferring temperatures!).

A useful tip when using either ice buckets or jackets is to invert the bottle gently two or three times before opening. This prevents the wine in the neck being significantly warmer than the rest of the bottle, meaning that that the first glass will be as chilled as the last.

• Maximise your serve and retain bubbles with the best glassware:
Whilst traditional champagne coupes look the part at Christmas, serving champagne in flutes produces more bubbles due to the concentration of fizz at the base of the glass.

A top tip - never wash champagne glasses in a dishwasher as the glasses get coated in dishwasher solution which deters bubbles from forming and results in the champagne looking flat.

~ The host with the most: How to pour the perfect glass of champagne: ~

Remember that the secret to popping open a bottle is to try and prevent the cork from flying out.

Take hold of the base of the bottle with your right hand and gently twist the bottle slowly in an anti-clockwise direction, whilst still holding the cork and cage in a firm grip. As soon as you feel pressure forcing the cork out, push it back in with your left thumb whilst continuing the twisting operation until the cork is released.

Remember, the cork should pop with a sigh, not a bang!

A good tip is to pour only a little into each glass so that by the time you return to the first glass its foam will already have settled. Do no tilt the glass, pour gently down the inside – it’s not lager!

~ The Perfect Christmas Present ~

As Laurent-Perrier celebrates the 50th anniversary of its iconic sparking rosé, champagne lovers can treat loved ones to the Cuvée Rosé limited edition metal robe gift set. Presented in an intricate monogrammed mesh ‘robe’, with Laurent-Perrier’s initials woven into a stylish rose gold lace, the luxurious robe cage is meticulously designed to complement the highly acclaimed sparkling rosé and iconic shape of the bottle.

The Cuvée Rosé champagne limited-edition metal robe cage includes a gift box and 75cl bottle of Cuvée Rosé. Available at ocado.com.