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Raise a toast to Champagne Jayne

Award-winning champagne expert Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jane) is here to teach us everything we need to know about bubbly!

Jayne will be talking us through the history of champagne, showing us how to open a bottle correctly, and which glasses to use, before we put Phillip and Holly to a blind taste test to see if they can tell the difference between a bargain and blow out bubbly!

What to look for when buying Champagne

  • The word Champagne should appear in prominent letters as well as France or Produce of France - this combination guarantees that the bottle is genuine champagne

  • The name of the producer or the brand (eg René Geoffroy or Bollinger). The degree of dryness/sweetness (eg Brut, Extra Dry or Demi-Sec).

  • The village or town where the champagne was made (eg Cumières or Aÿ or Reims)

  • The level of alcohol, which is usually 12% by vol

  • The size of the bottle (eg 750mls (standard size) or 1.5L (magnum))

  • If it's a vintage champagne, the year will be written somewhere on the front label

  • If the champagne is a particular type (eg Blanc de Blancs or Rosé), this will be noted. If the champagne is made solely from Grand Cru or Premier Cru grapes, this will also usually be highlighted on the label.

  • The importer's name and location

How to open a bottle of Champagne the right way

  • Wipe the bottle with a clean cloth

  • Unwrap the top of the foil around the cork and hold your thumb over the cork Remove the wire muselet and metal cage by turning the twisted wire six times and lift this packaging off

  • With your thumb on the cork, wrap your fingers around the neck and use your other hand to firmly grasp the bottle near its base

  • Point the bottle away from your body at a 45 degree angle and begin to turn the bottle keeping pressure on the cork with your thumb

  • This will enable you to loosen the cork with a gentle sigh

  • Wipe the mouth of the bottle with a cloth and pour just a little champagne into each glass to let the foam die down and then top up to half way

Champagne featured

Jayne: Tesco Brut Premier Cru £19.99Phillip: Moet Brut Imperial £32.99

Sainsbury's Vintage 2005 champagne £25.99Piper 2006 £49.49 from HarrodsPerrier-Jouët Bell Epoque 2004 £130

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