A celebration wouldn’t be the same without a glass of bubbles, but bottles and bottles of the good stuff can create a deep hole in your pocket.
Here, Vicky Burt DipWSET, MW, Product Development Manager for Wine Qualifications at the world-renowned Wine & Spirit Education Trust, reveals how to select and serve sparkling wine that will see you through any event with the perfect ‘pop’ without straining the purse strings.
Try something new – Champagne is the best known premium sparkling wine, but is certainly not your only option. Look for a bottle labelled ‘traditional method’ – this describes the technique used to make champagne and most other premium sparkling wines from across the world.
Keep it fresh – A cool, constant environment out of strong light is best for long term storage as warmer temperatures can cause the wine to taste older quicker. When served, sparkling wines should be well chilled between 6-10°C. Not only does this make the wine more refreshing to drink, it also lowers the pressure in the bottle so that the cork comes out more gently.
Skip the flutes – If you don’t have enough flutes or coupes, don’t worry! While they may be the classic choice, my Master of Wine Research Paper on the impact of glassware on the sensory perception of champagne revealed that a simple white wine glass can actually be the better shape to enhance perception of aromas and flavours.
Coordinate your canapés – A classic dry white fizz goes perfectly with smoked salmon blinis as the mouth-watering acidity cuts through the oily fish, while sweeter styles work well with melon and prosciutto bites, complementing the sugar in the fruit and counterbalancing the salt in the meat.
A festive twist – Sparkling wines don’t need to be limited to the aperitif. Sparkling reds such as a frothy dry Lambrusco are becoming increasingly popular and pair well with festive treats such as cured meats, cheeses and pâtés, the refreshing acidity and bubbles cleansing the palate.
*Insight from Vicky Burt’s Research Paper (the third stage of the Master of Wine Examination), ‘Does glassware have an impact on the sensory perception of Champagne? An investigation into the relative influences of physico-chemical and psychological processes in the sensory perception of two Pinot Noir-dominant Brut NV champagnes’. You can request to read the full Research Paper through the Institute of Masters of Wine..
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the largest global provider of qualifications in the field of wines and spirits. Courses are available in 19 languages and over 70 countries, and are open both to industry professionals and interested enthusiasts. WSET currently offers nine qualifications, from one-day beginner courses through to a specialist level diploma, each resulting in a globally recognised qualification. For more information about WSET or to find a local course provider near you, please visit: WSETglobal.com