5 Tips to Understanding Bubbly

Resist saving bubbly just for birthdays and ball drops and instead enjoy it throughout dinner. Part and parcel of upping your BCQ (Bubbly Consumption Quotient) is mastering these simple points.
Related To:
111952502

111952502

Champagne Flutes on Black

Photo by: Eric Hood

Eric Hood

Champagne Flutes on Black

1. Champagne vs. Other Bubbly: The world’s sparkling template, Champagne, is named for the bubbly that emanates from the Champagne region of northeastern France. In the United States, we call bubbly “sparkling wine.” Italians are passionate about their Prosecco, among other types, while the Spanish are crazy for Cava and in Germany they salivate for Sekt.

2. Méthode Champenoise vs. Tank: Fine bubbly is made from a labor-intensive process — often marked on the label “méthode champenoise” or ”traditional method” — whereby a second fermentation is induced in each bottle. More humble stuff will sometimes be made by the less costly method of producing the secondary fermentation in large tanks.

3. Grapes: While sparklers around the world are made from a range of grape types, the three classic grapes, and the only ones allowed in Champagne, are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and/or a little-known grape called Pinot Meunier (Moon-yay).

4. Dry, Off-Dry, Sweet: Bubbly can be fully dry, denoted as “brut,” or a little bit sweet, which is confusingly labeled as “extra brut.” You know you have sweeter stuff when the label says “sec,” “demi-sec” or the sweetest, “doux.”

5. Pairings: Most of us are way too hesitant in our bubbly consumption, saving it for special occasions rather than treating it as the willing flavor- and mood-booster it is. Dry versions play nicely with almost any savory meal and have a natural affinity for salty treats like nuts and popcorn, seafood and lighter meats, and fried creations such as Southern Fried Chicken. I also advise my students to always begin a vacation with a Pre-Hotel Bubbly Run (PHBR), a fun, cost-saving operation.

 

Mark Oldman is a wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Nontraditional Valentine's Day Dining Ideas: No Reservations Required!

Maybe a romantic dinner just means splurging (calorically) on a favorite comfort food together.

Raise a Toast: Understanding Alcohol's Calories

There's no need to deny yourself a drink or two at your next party -- it's knowing how to control all those calories that's the tricky part. Here's some things to keep in mind.

10 Thanksgiving Wine Tips And Pairings

Be the wine hero of Thanksgiving by bringing the perfect bottle — use our tips and wine pairing ideas.

Sip Wisely: Tips for Smart Alcohol Picks

With spring fever in the air, relax with a glass (or two) of alcohol. Beer, wine and cocktails can be part of a healthy diet---as long as you do it responsibly and follow our tips.

5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

White wines make great pairings with light summer dishes -- fresh produce, grilled fish and more. Our friend from Snooth.com wine forums recommends five of his favorite whites that are light on the palate and your wallet.

Target Is Now Selling Wine for 5 Bucks

The “cheap chic” discount chain has introduced a new line of wines that retail for $5 a bottle.

Wine to Get the Party Started

Having a party next week and don't know which wine to buy? Or how much? Follow these wine tips to make your party tops.

How to Buy Wine

With all of the anxiety and intimidation surrounding wine purchasing, it is a bloody shame that there is no user’s manual for visiting a wine shop. No matter: These strategies will help you get the most out of a wine merchant.

Easy White Wine Cocktails

A glass of white wine is great on its own, but you can easily jazz it up by adding fresh fruit, fruit juices and other liqueurs. Try these recipes, from Smooth.com wine expert Gregory Del Piaz, for a cool change from your standard mixed drinks.
More from:

Valentine's Day