A life well lived is full of moments of celebration. Landing a new job, joining hands in marriage, adding a new addition to the family, graduating from school, the homecoming of a loved one… these are all opportunities to gather with friends and family and celebrate. It’s usually the time we break out the bottle of sparkling wine we’ve been saving for just the right occasion. But getting the best taste out of a good bottle of sparkling wine means doing the opposite of everything you might see in a movie. Getting the most from your sparkling wine is about subdued patience rather than cork-popping gusto. We love a good party and understand that part of the delicious mystique behind a great bottle of sparkling wine is the preservation. Saving it until that special day when we can uncork and sample the rich complexities at its peak of flavor.
That’s why we’ve sought the help of respected wine authority, Dave Barna. Dave will answer the questions we all have about preservation, pairing, and presentation; and walk us through the steps of making the most out of our bubbly experience.
To start, set your U-Select® Control to Sparkling, which defaults to 45°, an optimal temperature for sparkling wine. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving to make sure the bottle is at the optimal temperature. Gently remove the bottle from your Wine Captain® Model without any excessive movement. Carefully remove wire cage and the foil over the cork with the bottle pointed away from everyone. (Figure A).
Grasp the cork firmly while making sure your hand is covered over the top of the cork (this prevents a premature surprise). Now, hold the bottom base firmly with your other hand, twist the bottle while holding the cork steady. (Figure B).
This is the key technique – turning the bottle and not the cork! As the cork begins to ease out, you’ll begin to have a good feel for whether the cork will come out with a controlled “pop” or whether you’ll need to have a glass or two ready for an immediate pour! Although people like to hear and see the “pop” and flowing rush of Champagne coming out of the bottle, this only results in a “flat” tasting experience since much of the carbon dioxide has now been allowed to escape, lessening the bubble experience.
When preparing to pour the champagne, always use flute glassware (tall slim glass), as these allow for a more controlled bubble stream and helps delay the champagne from going flat too quickly. The traditional American wide rimmed squat Champagne glasses seen in old movies should be avoided as they allow for too much surface area, thereby allowing the bubbles to dissipate quickly. (Figure C).
Next, wrap a white linen towel or equivalent around the bottle to capture drips, condensation and for ease of holding. Place one hand with thumb placed into the bottom depression (punt) of the bottle. (Figure D).
The other hand should then guide the bottle onto the glass and pour slowly into the side of the glass, not directly onto the base. (Figure E). This preserves the bubbles from escaping.
You may have to take a few pauses to fill each glass. Fill the glass no higher than 3/4 full, this allows the guest to easily appreciate the experience and ensures that you are getting the absolute best from your bubbly! (Figure F).
Shown in image: 3036WCWCOL 36″ Wine Captain® Model and a 3024RGLOL 24″ Glass Door Refrigerator.