It’s time to uncork a bottle of bubbly or ten

 
Timothy Barber
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NO doubt there’ll be rather a few champagne glasses being clinked around the country tomorrow. One of the more predictable aspects of attending a good wedding is the certainty of a pulsating champagne hangover the next day, and this time that applies to street parties, garden parties, pub gatherings and all the other get-togethers taking place to celebrate the royal nuptials.

But champagne’s not just good for a wedding?–?it’s the perfect drink to see in warmer days and balmier nights.

A couple of years ago the sound of corks popping in the Square Mile was about as common as bankers being publicly praised for their prudence and foresight, but luckily things have moved on. In One New Change the City now has one of the best-stocked bars dedicated to the stuff you’ll find anywhere.

Whether it’s to toast Wills and Kate or just for the hell of it, here are a few new ways to enjoy some fine fizz.

ONE NEW CHANGE WECLOMES SEARCY’S
IT’S already transformed the City’s shopping options, and now One New Change is home to one of the most impressive additions to its social life. Restaurant company Searcy’s, which also opened grand champagne bars at Westfield and Paddington Station in the past year, has created a suave place of huge windows, plush armchairs and a flash granite bar, and it just happens to house the most extensive champagne list in Europe. One of its more interesting innovations is the idea of decanting champagne – a trend that’s apparently popular in Paris and, I’m told, can have a transformative effect on the taste and complexity of the fizz. One New Change Champagne Bar, EC4M 9AF www.searcys.co.uk

PERRIER-JOUET’S LEGACY
CHAMPAGNE lovers with an eye for history and very deep pockets will be interested in Perrier-Jouet’s Living Legacy champagne, created to celebrate the celebrated champagne house’s 200th anniversary. In a distinct, sculptural box designed by US artist Daniel Arsham comes a magnum of one of PJ’s finest vintages, Belle Epoque 1998. At the same time, a second magnum is stored in the company’s cellars for up to 100 years, to be opened by the buyer’s future offspring. It’s limited to just 100 pieces, to be ordered by appointment at Perrier-Jouet’s boutique in Epernay, France, for €10,000. www.perrier-jouet.com

GUESS THE AROMAS WITH RUINART
HERE’S a different way to both enjoy bubbly and get a bit of a deeper understanding of it. The top-end champagne house Ruinart has launched the Ruinart Interpretation giftbox designed to lift the lid on the constituent flavours and aromas of its Blanc de Blancs edition. As well as a bottle of the champers, the giftbox contains eight vials, each containing one of the principal aromas that make up its bouquet, like jasmine, pink peppercorn or cardamom. Identify the aromas in the vials and see if you can pick them up in the champagne itself – good for a dinner party. £85 from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. www.ruinart.com

NEW CHAMPAGNE LOUNGE AT DUKES
AMONG all the male-centric gents clubs and clubby little hotel bars in St James’s, the new Perrier-Jouet lounge at venerable Dukes hotel is more than a breath of fresh air. An elegantly florid vision of champagne greens, rosy pinks and rococo luxury, it’s a supremely comfortable place to cocoon yourself with a glass or three of very fine champers. As well as a full collection of PJ champagnes – including Belle Epoque, Belle Epoque Rose and the hard-to-come-by Belle Epoque Blanc de Blanc – there are some rather enticing champagne cocktails and canapés. An ultra-classy, noticeably feminine counterpoint to the hotel’s famous cocktail bar upstairs. Dukes, St. James’s Place, SW1A 1NY, www.dukeshotel.com