It is almost unbelievable that I was writing this post, Christmas Day, Masks and Food about the pandemic and Christmas almost a year ago.
My title above indicates that sparkling wines are perhaps the most versatile of wines out there. I really do believe that. I mean, for brunch, sparkling wine is an obvious answer. If you are having an early evening hors d'oeuvre party featuring anything from popcorn to caviar, sparkling wine is the answer.
For the Christmas food fair, or a steak, chicken, pork or seafood dinner - they all work with sparkling wines. And, yes, desserts go great with sparkling wines, also.
However, before I delve into some do’s and don’ts when drinking Champagne, (include all sparkling wine here), I want to comment on rumours of a champagne shortage this year. There are whispers that some importers will run out of the more well-known brands.
Let me say upfront, that due to the excellent relationships we have with our suppliers, Green Acres has ample stock of our popular range for Champagne and other sparkling wines.
Here is a recent article by John Wilson of the Irish Times (Champagne shortage: It’s not going to be a jolly Bolly Christmas), if you’d like to read a little more about this topic.
Do’s and Don’ts of Drinking Sparkling Wine
Do store Champagne somewhere where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate from hot to cold as this will kill any wine. Definitely not the kitchen. The ideal temperature is around 7°C to 11°C, but 15°C or below is also acceptable if stored for up to a year.
Do store the bottles on their side. Champagne can be stored standing up for a few weeks, but for long-term storage, it should be kept on its side to avoid the cork drying out. Corked Champagne is not very pleasant.
Do avoid a flute or coup shape glass. I’m going to recommend a white wine glass. After all, it’s a white wine. And a standard white wine glass will allow you to enjoy the sparkling wine while also allowing you to experience all the wonderful aromas that a flute won’t.
Don’t chill your glasses in the fridge as this will end up diluting the Champagne. Chilling glasses in the fridge can add 0.5% water to your drink.
Don’t serve from the freezer. Champagne should be served cold, but if the wine gets too cold it will reduce the bubbles. Also, when served ice cold, the aromas aren’t properly released.
Do use a Champagne stopper. You can store an opened Champagne for up to three days (in the fridge) if you use a stopper to keep the bubbles in.
Do keep the Champagne in the fridge for around three hours before serving. Once opened, you can leave it out in a bucket filled with ice and water as this will keep the wine chilled.
Do twist the bottle when opening it. You want to open the bottle gently; the key is to have as little sound as possible when opening and to avoid the cork flying out. Hold the top of the cage to keep the cork in place and open the wire. Then twist the base of the bottle in a circular motion away from the cork.
Don’t fill a glass all at once. Pour only a little bit at first to allow the foam to settle. When the foam has settled you can fill up the rest. When using a wine glass, only fill as you would with wine, never to the brim.
Do hold the glass by the stem. Keep your hands off the bowl or you’ll warm up the Champagne too fast!
Do check the label for sweetness. When choosing the right Champagne to fit your preferred sweetness, check the following on the label:
Brut Nature (Bone Dry) 0–3 grams of residual sugar per litre
Extra Brut Less than 6g
Brut Less than 12g (most common)
Extra Sec (Extra Dry) 12-17g
Sec (Dry) 17-32g
Demi-sec (Medium Dry) 32-50g
Doux (Sweet) 50+ grams (rarely produced)
Don’t just drink Champagne to celebrate. Champagne loves salty and fatty foods, so being a wine like any other, and it can be served on any occasion and with almost anything.
As we continue through the coming Festive Season, the question of ‘which wine to buy?’ is constantly on our minds. I will be addressing specific wines for the big day soon but suffice to finish this post with the answer that sparkling wine on any occasion goes with everything.
If I or any of the Green Acres wine team can help you choose a sparkling wine for Christmas, please contact us here in Green Acres by phone 053 9122975 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.