A lesson in champagne.

From opening to enjoying: A guide to champagne appreciation

Champagne is a drink that immediately lifts the spirits. When a cork is popped, you know something happy and special is going on – it’s the tonic for joyfuless.

To learn more about everyone’s favourite sparkling drink, we visited The Goring hotel in London for a lesson in champagne appreciation.

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Bar Manager, Brian Kinsella invited us into the The Goring’s beautiful lounge bar to show us how to pour the perfect glass of champagne. He advised us to pour the champagne slowly, and to always pour a little bit into the glass first and let it settle, before topping up the rest of the glass in one smooth action.

Then Managing Director of Champagne Pol Roger, James Simpson talked us through the history of champagne. Pol Roger was founded in 1849 and now owns 90 hectares of vineyards in the Vallée d’Epernayè. James revealed champagne is a sparkling wine unique to the Champagne region of France and that the fermentation process is key – it’s the second fermentation in the sealed bottle that produces champagne. There are around 4,000 producers of champagne, but only 16 are classified as Grand Marques (the most famous champagne houses).

Meanwhile, outside in the Goring’s garden – one of the largest private gardens in the capital – our Editor, Mark Hedges talked us through his favourite party trick. This alternative method of opening a bottle of champagne is guaranteed to impress.

The relationship between Pol Roger and Country Life goes back a number of years, with Pol Roger supplying the bottle of champagne for the winning letter each week.

Although Great Britain is, and always has been, the premier export market for Pol Roger (a tradition dating back to the 1860’s) their greatest relationship lies with Winston Churchill, who drank it all the way through his career until his death in 1965. He most famously said, “in defeat I need it, in victory I deserve it.”