Tis’ the season for sparkling wine! Whether you’re heading to a glam party or entertaining at your place, we always recommend a glass of bubbly. Did you know that the category of sparkling wine extends far beyond Champagne? Did you also know that sparkling wines can be a fantastic complement for many of our meals? Opt for some sparkling Rosé the next time you heat up our Vegetable Medley. Or how about a dry Lambrusco to pair with our Chili Pork Verde?
Here’s what you need to know.
The celebratory effervescence that gives sparkling wine its namesake comes from bubbles made by carbon dioxide. Most sparkling wine is made with a secondary fermentation process where sugar and yeast are added to an already finished wine, known as a base. This is done in two ways, the méthode traditionelle, where the second fermentation occurs in the bottle, and the Charmat method, where wine is sealed and pressurized in a tank and then re-bottled.
Did you know that there are approximately one million bubbles in each glass of a traditional-method sparkling wine?
Champagne is a great example of a traditional method sparkling wine, which usually has a more complex flavor profile and luxurious textures. Prosecco, on the other hand, is a classic Charmat method example that’s more fruit-forward and hi-fizz.
What are my options?
With so many options to choose, let’s start with some of the more well-known varietals. Cava, from Spain, often includes flavors of citrus, green apple, as well as earthy notes. Prosecco, from northern Italy, trades out nuanced complexity for bright approachability. Try a glass the next time you’re looking for something great to sip on before the meal. If you’re looking for something a bit weirder, and on-trend for the thriving natural wine movement, Pét–Nat is a bit lower in alcohol, and often a bit hazy and funky compared to its more classic cousins.
Too sweet or not sweet enough?
It’s all in the name. Look for the following words on a bottle of sparkling wine: brut, demi-sec, and doux. In that order, they signify dry, semi-dry, and sweet.
The opening ceremony and a good serve
Revel in the theatricality of opening your bubbly! If you don’t have a sabre lying around, you can still spark joy with that recognizable pop that will please any party-goer. To open, first remove the foil and wire cage around the cork. Hold the bottle steadily in one hand, while you keep your other hand on the cork. Turn the bottle slowly and carefully ease the cork out. Holding the cork with a napkin can be extremely helpful.
You’ll want your sparkling wine to be properly chilled. We recommend storing the bottle in the fridge for at least a few hours before serving, or if you have a wine fridge, try to store sparkling wines around 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. When serving, use thinner glassware like white wine glasses or champagne flutes. These will maximize the aromas and fizz-factor.
Let the tasting begin
This New Year’s Eve is a perfect opportunity to explore the wide world of sparkling wine. Consider picking up a few bottles to do some taste testing with your guests, but don’t forget to save some for midnight! You’ll probably be hungry. In need of some tasty, no-fuss appetizers? We have you covered.
We wish you a happy, healthy New Year!
The Cadence Kitchen Team.
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