The best way to drink your Sparkling
Blog Entry by Kate Laurie
8 November 2016
With Spring in the air, and Christmas feeling like it is hurtling towards us at meteoric speed, here are my thoughts on the best way to drink bubbly.
The first thing to remember, champagne and sparkling are both WINES. And as such, like to breathe and open up in your glass. Personally, the straight-sided function centre flute is my pet hate. Not only because getting the last drop makes you look like some Simpsons character with a flip top head, but because they don’t let the wine open sufficiently.
To increase the contact of the wine with the air, I prefer a flute that actually resembles a wine glass more than a flute. (Note I said ‘resembles’, more to come on that in a minute). The idea being that you have more surface area of the sparkling in contact with air, enabling the gentle oxidation of the wine to release the aroma’s that have been trapped in the bottle for so long.
So that helps make it smell good. What makes it taste good? With sparkling we are looking for balanced flavour, zingy fresh acidity and a lovely sherbet bubble. There is nothing worse than a flat glass of bubbly, so to ensure there is a constant bead - the string of bubbles running up from the base of the glass - you need to have a point for the bubble to form from. This is called a nucleation site (show off with that one on me!). Either a scratch at the base of the glass, or a customised flute with a small porous drop in the bottom is enough to ensure there is a constant stream of bubble rising to the surface, and as each bubble bursts at the top, more of the aroma of the wine are sent up to your beautifully groomed nostrils. And most importantly, you have that beautiful fresh zing on your tongue that your favourite sparkling wine should give!
The final impact of the glass on the flavour, comes down to the actual thickness of the rim. Now I don’t have any technical jargon here, but I hate drinking from a flute that is so tough you could glaze your windows with it. You may as well drink out of a coffee cup. The finest glass, with an ultra fine rim somehow mirrors the delicacy of the wine, and guarantees it hits your tongue and olfactories with precision and elegance.
A trick for all of you to remember, if you are washing your glasses in the dishwasher, make sure you rinse them with boiling water from the kettle, and dry them with a glass cloth. Any residue from detergent KILLS THE BUBBLE!
One of the wine flights at our forthcoming Champagne Masterclass will guide you through the effect glassware has on your bubbles – you’ll be amazed! We’ll also be sharing our favourite flute designs.
Oh, one more thing… no harm in chilling the glasses first. Unless of course you drink like a fish and there is no time for your wine to warm up anyway!
Cheers and bubbles,
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