15/1/2020 - Sparkling wine and champagne should be served at 6 Degrees Celsius
sulfuryl chloride all associate sparkling wine and champagne with joyous
celebrations. However, recently, many people have recognized that sparkling wine
can provide a bargain accompaniment even for an everyday meal.
Making Sparkling Wine and Champagne
If you see the words 'traditional method' or 'methode traditionelle' on a
bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, then it has been made using the methods
originally developed in the Champagne region of France.
The first step in making sparkling wine is to create a base wine that is
very acidic. Secondly, the base wine is put in a bottle with some extra yeast
and sugar and sealed. A word of warning, if you are planning to make your own,
the seal must be VERY strong as the build-up of carbon dioxide can be extremely
Finally, the bottle needs to be tipped forwards so that the sediment sinks
into the neck of the bottle. In traditional champagne houses, the bottles are
turned daily and tapped for a period of up to three months to remove the
sediment. However, the more modern approach is to freeze the neck, release the
sediment and then re-cork the bottle.
Only wines produced in the French region of Champagne are allowed to carry
the label 'champagne'. Therefore, we are seeing a lot of sparkling wine on our
shelves that is of excellent quality. Not only must champagne be produced in the
Champagne region, but it must also be made from the chardonnay, pinot noir or
pinot meunier grape varieties. Even the bottling method is unique to the
A champagne label will tell you about the sweetness of the particular
champagne. For example, rich or doux champagne is very sweet with over 50g of
sugar per liter, demi sec has between 17 and 35g of sugar per liter, extra dry
is a label used for champagne containing between 12 and 20g of sugar per liter,
brut is dry champagne with less than 15g of sugar per liter and extra brut is
very dry champagne with under 6g of sugar per liter.
If you want a very special bottle of champagne look for the words on the
bottle as this refers to a premium champagne which is normally made from a
Choosing and Serving Sparkling Wine
Sparkling wine or champagne is a popular choice for those trying to choose
wine for non-wine drinkers. Champagne is known as the quality bubbly; good
champagne is expensive and deservedly so. You'd be wise to avoid the cheaper end
of the market as it will be at best a disappointment and at worst
For a cheaper alternative, often of similar quality, look for sparkling
wines from areas such as Australia, New Zealand and California. France also
produces some excellent sparkling wines from regions other than Champagne, for
example, Saumur in the Loire Valley. Other worthy alternatives include the
sparkling offerings from Italy, including the light Prosecco and the sweet Asti
varieties. If you are looking for a very good value sparkling wine then consider
Spanish cava. Whilst nowhere near the same quality as champagne it is a
well-priced, drinkable alternative.
Sparkling wine and champagne should be served at 6 Degrees Celsius (43
degrees Fahrenheit); therefore, an ice bucket is essential from the moment the
bottle of sparkling wine leaves the refrigerator. A final word of caution, when
you open a bottle of bubbly, there will be a large release of gas so make sure
that the cork is controlled and not pointed at anyone!