Champagne lovers who simply pop the cork, pour and drink are missing out on the full flavour of their bubbly, a leading producer believes.

Champagne lovers who simply pop the cork, pour and drink are missing out on the full flavour of their bubbly, a leading producer believes.

Michel Drappier, whose family has been growing grapes and made champagne in the Côtes de Bar, south-east of Troyes, for almost 200 years, has designed a decanter to allow his vintage wines to "open up" and produce rounder aromas and flavours. The principle is the same as that behind the decanting of aged clarets and ports.

A local glassworks has produced two hand-blown prototypes of a long-necked bottle with a rounded base. They also made a wooden stand so that the decanter can be stood on a table while being filled. The decanter can be placed in an ice bucket where its shape ensures that the wine is kept uniformly cool.

Giles Fallowfield, a champagne expert, said: "It is a perfectly sensible idea from a very good producer. Many drink their champagne too cold. They only really appreciate the flavour when they are down to the last drop.'' But he added: "I don't think it will catch on: it's just not appropriate for the occasions when most people drink champagne, like weddings and parties. They forget the taste in their excitement; it's about the bubbles.''

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