“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it. Unless I’m thirsty.”
– Madame Lily Bollinger
If connoisseurs are to be believed, sparkling wine is a celebration in every bottle. Sparkling wine is the only wine that appeals to all the senses; one can feel the creaminess on the palate, taste the crispness, see the clarity, enjoy the delicious aroma, and listen to the bubbles as they rise to the surface. Very rarely will you come across someone who dislikes this sparkling spirit. And those who do obviously haven’t tried it yet!
Enjoying a flute comes naturally to everyone, but here are some tips to enhance the experience.
Sparkling wine is best served at the temperature you like best; Domaine Carneros usually prefers a very cool 40-45 degrees F. Chill it in the fridge for two hours or for the classic, stylish method, pop it in an ice bucket for 20 minutes.
Alternate layers of salt and ice in a wine bucket, up to the neck of the bottle and then add water. Pop the cork in about 10 minutes.
Popping the Bottle
Pop the cork with a whisper, not a bang. Point the bottle away from people and windows! With your thumb on the top of the wire hood and cork, loosen the wire cage with the other hand. Keep holding the cage and cork with your thumb and hand and twist the bottle (not the cork).
Sparkling wine looks best in flutes or “tulip” glasses. Their length shows off the lively bubbles, concentrates the aroma and keeps the wine sparkly. However, there is controversy over the perfect glass, some people prefer regular wine glasses, so it’s your call.
Fill your flutes so that they are one-third full to enjoy a sparkling wine’s enticing aromas. Here’s a bonus tip: the smaller volume the more likely the wine will remain perfectly chilled as you sip.
For top quality, the tinier and more abundant the bubbles in sparkling wine, the better. Bubbles help release the wine’s flavor and aroma and tiny bubbles translate to a creamier texture on the palate. Fun fact! The average bottle of sparkling wine yields from 50 to 250 million bubbles!
Storing it Right
Once a bottle of bubbly is opened, it can be kept in the refrigerator with a pressure-tight seal stopper that keeps refrigerated sparkling wine lively for up to a week. That’s right – a week!
With sparkling wine, the pressure keeps the cork moist whether the bottle is sideways or standing straight up. So go ahead and show off those beautiful bottles of bubbly, but – like all wine – be sure to store your bottles in a cool place away from direct light.
Pairing The Bubbly
Sparkling wine’s acidity and bubbles cut through the richness and saltiness of most meals and cleanse your palate for the next delicious bite. It’s the perfect foil for salty foods, fried foods, and rich cheeses.
Pair sparkling wines with herbed nuts, goat cheese, prawns, fresh oysters, fresh cracked crab, lobster, smoked salmon, and of course, caviar!
Sparkling wines containing a higher proportion of Pinot Noir in the blend, such as Brut, Rose or Blanc de Noir pair admirably with fowl, pork and even beef.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Popcorn goes beautifully with sparkling wine; try your popcorn topped with butter & lemon zest. Or with butter, parmesan & truffle oil. Psst! For a stronger flavor, add a teaspoon of truffle oil to every 1 1½ tablespoons of the popping oil.