Not all sparkling wines are the same. How to choose the right one, open a sparkling wine bottle properly, serve it, and enjoy it? Many people cannot imagine entering the new year without sparkling wine. Bubbles in glass easily conjure up a unique festive atmosphere.
Sparkling wine is practically an indispensable drink for various celebrations, but above all, it somehow belongs in December. It is with bubbles that people prefer to wait for the first seconds of the new year.
Throughout December, sparkling wine is the number one drink. The reason is that people associate it with celebration, happenings… And they usually buy sparkling wine. Bubbles are trendy among women, but men also enjoy sparkling wine.
However, in recent years, sparkling wine has become a popular year-round drink, which is also confirmed by sales data. Sales of sparkling wine have been increasing over the years. The reason is also that the quality of sparkling wine in all cellars has improved so much that this is really a good product that refreshes you.
Sparkling wines contain a high proportion of carbon dioxide, giving them a bubbly appearance and taste. Bubbles in wine result from the natural process of boiling or fermentation. This begins to unfold when sugar is added to the wine. During fermentation, the yeast consumes sugar, releasing carbon dioxide. Because this is trapped in a closed container, bubbles are created in the wine.
Sparkling wine is produced from the wine with primary and secondary alcoholic fermentation. This can take place in bottles or closed containers, thin. Depending on where the secondary fermentation took place, two basic methods of sparkling wine production are distinguished: Classic and Charmat.
We are talking about the Classic or traditional method if secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. This type of sparkling wine production usually takes a long time. The wine is in contact with the dead yeast for a longer time, so the product ends up with a fuller, more complex, and usually slightly more sour taste. Bubbles are generally smaller and more numerous.
We are talking about the Charmat or tank method if the secondary boiling occurs in a tightly closed container or tank. Usually, the final product with the Charmat method has a fresher taste.
What Are the Differences Between Sparkling Wine, Champagne, and Prosecco?
When buying bubbles, we can quickly be at a loss as to which ones to choose. Many products are on the market, but they often have different names. Although the name champagne has caught on for sparkling wines worldwide, this name is reserved only for sparkling wine produced exclusively in the French region of Champagne.
Champagne is a sparkling wine produced according to the classic method in the French region of Champagne. And only sparkling wine from there can be called Champagne. For example, Prosecco sparkling wine produced according to the Charmat method, which originates from Italy, or Cava sparkling wine, made in Spain, also has a special designation.
Therefore, the appellation for sparkling wine is usually linked to a protected geographical origin and often also to specific grape varieties and the production process. Slovenian high-quality or premium sparkling wines also have a protected geographical origin and thus also a unique name: “Slovenian sparkling wine.”
How to Choose the Right Sparkling Wine?
Sparkling wines are usually made from white or rosé wine, but there are also reds on the market (Brachetto, Bonarda, Lambrusco, Shiraz). They are most often distinguished by taste or according to the content of unreduced sugar. There are seven levels of sugar content: completely dry (brut nature), extra dry (extra brut), very dry (brut), dry (extra dry), semi-dry (sec), semi-sweet (demi-sec), and sweet (doux).
Above all, you should pay attention to whether the sparkling wine is dry or semi-dry. If you go to the store and prefer a slightly sweeter wine, make sure you don’t buy completely dry sparkling wine because you probably won’t like the taste the most. In addition, it is also necessary to look at whether it is a classic or Charmat method. Charmat champagnes are usually fresher, while classic champagnes are a little fuller.
Regarding the production method, pay particular attention to cheaper sparkling wines, as carbon dioxide can also be added afterward. This means lower quality.
How to Open a Sparkling Wine Bottle Correctly
It is best if sparkling wine is served chilled to around 6 degrees Celsius. It is best to leave the bottle upright in the refrigerator for a few hours so that any sediment settles to the bottom.
It is also essential how we open it and that we do not shake it beforehand. First, we remove the protective film and then carefully undertake the stopper with the wire. During the opening, the thumb of one hand is constantly holding and pressing the cork, and with the other hand, we begin to unscrew the wire cap slowly. Then tilt the bottle at an angle of 45 degrees and slowly rotate it, holding the stopper firmly. The pressure will help us open it in a few moments.
We open the sparkling wine properly so that it does not burst. It should open quietly. But when we pour it, we pour it slowly so that the bubbles in the bottle start to release.
So, just the opposite of what we usually see at New Year’s Eve celebrations. When it bursts, or if we open it with a saber, it’s actually barbaric. Napoleon’s soldiers used to do this when they returned from the battles and had champagne glasses on their horses, which they opened with sabers. This method of opening is, of course, not in accordance with etiquette. Of course, we can open sparkling wine in the company as we want.
How Do We Serve Sparkling Wine?
It is usually poured into special sparkling wine glasses. The sparkling glass has a grooved bottom; therefore, the chains of bubbles remain longer. Probably, many people do not know that sparkling wine can also be served in ordinary wine glasses, where the aroma of the sparkling wine comes to the fore.
For special ceremonies, sparkling wine is served in a sparkling wine glass so that the bubbles are visible for a longer time. We can serve in a wine glass for a toast and a good mood, where the freshness and aroma will be more pronounced.
Of course, you can also use plastic champagne glasses for outdoor New Year’s Eve parties. They look nice and are almost like the real thing, so they can be served in such glasses so that we don’t have to carry a glass with us. But don’t look pleasant in any way if served in ordinary plastic glasses. Because when we drink sparkling wine or wine, they are important to the feelings we experience with it. And if it’s poorly packaged, then we don’t have that feeling of prestige and ceremony either. Sparkling wine must give that feeling, a sense of joy.
We drink it in small sips. So that it spills over your oral cavity, and you feel those bubbles. So, you sip it little by little and enjoy what the sparkling wine offers you.
We often clink glasses during a toast, but this is not always appropriate for sparkling wine. We can clink glasses in a close circle of friends. But if it is a larger group, it is more suited to toast by raising glasses only.
And if you won’t drink the whole bottle, you can save the sparkling wine for another day. There are special corks for sparkling wine that seal the bottle airtight. You can then keep the sparkling wine sealed in this way in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, it must be emphasized that the bottle should be corked soon after opening. Otherwise, the bubbles will evaporate.
Ideas to Spice up Sparkling Wine
Good, quality sparkling wine does not need additives. The use of ice should also be avoided, as it dilutes the drink’s taste and thereby destroys the authentic taste.
Some people like to spice up sparkling wine a bit or mix it with other drinks, either for visual effects or for taste. You can spice up a glass of sparkling wine with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, lemon slices, and sprigs of herbs…
If you have some sparkling wine left, you can mix cocktails with it, such as an Aperol spritz or mimosa… Or use the bubbly drink to prepare desserts.