Founded in 1912, Champagne Telmont combines four generations of savoir faire with the progressive goal of becoming a completely organic brand over the next decade — backed up by admirably sustainable practices. Ludovic du Plessis, president of the House of Telmont, shares his expert tips for storing, serving and enjoying Champagne.
What qualities should be considered in the selection of a Champagne?
It’s really a question of personal taste. For me, tiny bubbles are essential. I also want a Champagne with personality — one that is well-structured, but without a heavy body. Ethereal. A lot of fruitiness, with a long lasting aroma. Something with authenticity and purity, but without extravagance. This is what we try to do with Champagne Telmont.
How is Champagne best stored?
Ideally in a cellar, at approximately 12 degrees Celsius. Lay the bottle on its back. Serve at eight to 10 degrees Celsius. However, don’t chill your bottle in the freezer or serve the Champagne in a pre-chilled glass, because you will lose aroma and sparkle.
What kind of glasses do you recommend?
While flutes are traditional, I advise leaving them in the cupboard, because they are too narrow. Not the coupé glass either; they are too large. I recommend a white wine glass with a lip that is smaller than the bowl — it’s the best glass to exhibit flavour and aroma.
What is the best way to open a bottle and serve the Champagne?
Some sommeliers try not to make a sound, and so open the bottle very slowly. I like it when the bottle makes a noise, because Champagne is all about celebration. It’s a fleeting moment of sparkle and celebration — you need to hear it. Avoid filling the glasses by more than half. By pouring in stages, you keep the bubbles dancing.
Any tips for tasting?
Take the glass by the stem and look at the colour and bubbles, before enjoying the aroma in the glass. Drink it drop by drop. A drop of Champagne on the palate is very powerful because you can feel the texture, the flavours, the whole experience. Pair with caviar, oysters or jamon ibérico.
When is Champagne best enjoyed?
Champagne as an aperitif sets the tone of the night. Hosting a dinner with different Champagne pairings is also very nice — perhaps a 12-20 year old vintage, a Blanc de Noirs or a Blanc de Blanc. I find that a glass of Champagne at noon changes your day.
Which Champagne is good to kick off a dinner party?
The best, in my opinion, of course, is Telmont. Our non-vintage and our organic cuvée, Reserve Brut, are exceptional, as is our entire collection. I’m also a fan of Dom Perignon ’96 and Clos des Goisses.
What is de rigueur if a bottle is opened but not finished?
I have no idea — that never happens to me. There is only one thing better than a glass of Champagne, and that’s a bottle.