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10 OF THE BEST HOTELS FOR CHAMPAGNE BY THE GLASS

Adrian Mourby

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Champagne has been drunk in this country for centuries but the idea of buying it by the glass really only took off with the rise of the cocktail bar in Britain's hotels. Suddenly rather than purchasing a whole bottle, it was possible to sit at the bar and sip a glass of something sparking for less than the price of a dry martini. Inevitably hotels only offer as many champagnes by the glass as they believe they can sell. You cannot put champagne back once that all-important cork has been popped. As a result the bigger the hotel the greater the choice. At the moment Bollinger, Taittinger, Louis Roederer and that big-hitter in the status symbol stakes, Krug, are selling well by the glass but you'll find some commendably unusual choices in the selection below. As for which glass-shape is “right” when drinking champagne, opinion is shifting yet again. Flutes are on their way out with Moet Chandon, Roederer, and Taittinger all advising us to eschew both the flute and the rounded coupe as one inhibits the aroma and the other the bubbles. So hope your hotel offers you a "tulip" glass. It's tall but bells out before curving inwards to the top. This shape allows more space for swirling and focuses the aromatics more towards the nose. Cheers!
The Great House Restaurant and Hotel

It's quite something to have your own champagne label but if you dine at the Great House in Lavenham the two champagnes offered by the glass are Great House Grand Reserve Spéciale Cuvée and Rosé. This boutique hotel with its eighteenth-century façade has struck a deal with Champagne Gruet in the small commune of Buxeuil, Aube. In 1911 Buxeuil became famous for its Champagne Riot when it was mooted that the commune might lose the Appellation Champagne. A century later and the village is home to both Champagne Moutard and Champagne Gruet. The Great House not only has the cachet of its own champagne but an all-French team serving it to accompany an award-winning French restaurant in this dignified old building.

Hotel du Vin - Cambridge

As an organisation Hotel du Vin excels at converting interesting buildings. In Cambridge they have transformed an old University administration complex on Trumpington Street into a 41-bedroom hotel with a lovely library for preprandial drinks and a labyrinthine cellar bar that dates back to medieval times. Down here you'll find Lombarde, Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and Lallier champagne from Ay being served by the glass as well as the excellent English newcomer Gusbourne. As a general rule wherever there are students there will be champagne and the hotel has a healthy wine list, including 17 bruts and six rosés to complement the three house champagnes.

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