Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Let's taste the bubbly

Published:Sunday | December 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Ring in the new year with the right bubbly. - Contributed

Jason Clarke, Contributor

Christmas has come and gone, but the festivities continue and New Year's is the perfect time for something cold, crisp and bubbly. There is no better way to close out one year and start a new one. So a little bubbly is in order.

One cannot speak of bubbly without paying homage to the ever-popular champagne. Not all sparkling wines are champagnes, as the fruits used to make champagne are grown and produced in a specific region in France, which is what truly makes it one of a kind. All others are considered sparkling wines and there are some great options available in the market. And bear in mind, most sparkling wines are intended to be consumed immediately (not something you store, or think of saving for when you are old and grey).

'Tis the season to enjoy them.

Sparkling wines could be classified as:

  • Extra Brut - extra dry, so not sweet, but great with dessert or by itself.
  • Brut - dry (meaning not sweet), which is very popular, not to mention food-friendly.
  • Extra dry - is a middle-road bubbly because it is not as dry as a brut and has some residual sugars in it. It is a great starter to any evening before dinner. Your appetiser wine, if you will.
  • Demi-sec - sweeter and goes best with dessert or fruits.

Just about every major wine-producing region has its own rival to champagne and, to me, some do it a lot better. Prosecco is the Italian equivalent, ohh mama mia. I find a Prosecco is the closest thing one can get to champagne at a fraction of the price, which, for me, makes it a winner. A great value-based option to consider is the Sperone Prosseco. Vibrant, vigorous and vivacious bubbles dance in your glass. Perfectly dry, it is the best way to manage a hard life easy into 2015.

The Spanish counterpart, Cava, is always a favourite of mine, specifically Freixenet. Her black curvaceous form glaring at me, gets me every time. Such finesse and grace, it's always an enjoyable bubbly. It's a great option to consider. If you are thinking of something on the semi-sweet end, there is a sweet cuvée, which might appeal to those that are not hugely fond of dry sparkling.

All sparkling wines should be served cold; the colder, the better. It allows for a crisp, refreshing taste that tickles all the way down. I recommend chilling in the coldest part of your fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Once you open and pour, keep it on ice. Ideally, it should be served in flutes, which really shows the bubbles rising. A typical bottle should serve between four and six glasses.

If you can't quite finish a bottle, sorrel mimosas are the order of the day. I would say go half and half and you have yourself a great kick-start to the morning of the first.