Firstly, buy several bottles of the same champagne and chill them well in advance (at least several days before). For a large gathering, it’s always best to have multiple bottles of the same champagne (or wine). This allows you to re-serve your guest before they finish their glass, ensuring that you haven’t mixed two different champagnes.
Buy in bulk
Your guests may bring bottles with them, but you shouldn’t count on this, so make sure you have enough of your own champagne properly chilled to last the entire party. Your guests’ bottles should be considered a host gift and you’re not required to drink them.
Your fridge is probably going to be jammed with other goodies at this time of the year, so chances are the lukewarm bottle your friend brought round will never get cold enough to enjoy that evening anyway. Place these bottles elsewhere and enjoy them in the post-party weeks to come.
Serve the right food
It’s important to serve foods that flatter champagne. Foods that are rich, creamy, and slightly salty all typically complement sparkling wines. The acidity of champagne and other sparkling wines offsets the richness and keeps you going back for more.
Canapés made with puff pastry, mushroom and cream appetisers, seafood snacks with their salty ocean tinge, and rich and silky cheeses all go marvellously with champagne.
Mario's top picks
Lanson Black Label
The verdict: "This is a classic, well-balanced champagne full of fresh fruit and a fresh acidity. It's perfectly yeasty with biscuity notes that enhance the complexity."
During the festive period Apex Hotels has teamed up with Champagne Lanson to offer a mouth-wateringly good promotion. When you purchase a glass of Lanson Black Label champagne at any of our hotels, you’ll receive a Lanson Cracker to pull.
Each cracker is filled with a Christmas hat, Lindt Christmas chocolate and a chance to instantly win a complimentary glass of Lanson. One in five crackers will have a ‘free glass’ voucher – are you feeling lucky? You’ll also receive instructions of how to get your free Lanson Little Black Book of Champagne.
Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve
The verdict: A beautiful English sparkling wine perfect for celebrations. Great value for money and one of our favourites in Lazy Ballerinas. Taste the fruity freshness in this pale golden wine."
Perrier Jouet “Belle Epoque” 1999
The verdict: "For those who want to celebrate with style, this is an incredible champagne that will make for a memorable night. This is only served by the bottle in our 'Fine Champagne Selection'."
To try Mario's top three picks and other fine wines, head to The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas on London's Fleet Street.