There is something about champagne, so even Winston Churchill could not help but sing its praises. On one occasion, he said it was not just France they were fighting for but champagne too. In another, the formidable politician shared his reverence for champagne, saying that a single glass imparts a feeling of exhilaration; wits become more nimble, imagination is stirred, and nerves are braced.
It is, therefore, no wonder that we have come to associate wine with self-care. Still, there is so much to learn about this drink that people hold in such high regard. For instance, did you know that champagne is sparkling wine, yet not all sparkling wine is champagne? Until you know everything surrounding sparkling wine, you are still a novice at the world of wine, so here are seven facts to get you started.
A Mistake Led to Its Creation
For a long time, the English had imported still white and red wines from the Benedictine monks. However, they at one time accidentally left the imported still wine at the London docks. As the temperatures rose, the yeast in the still wine underwent a second fermentation leading to carbonation. The second fermentation created the fizz, which sets sparkling wine apart from the rest. Nowadays, wine manufacturers induce secondary fermentation by introducing yeast and sugar to a still base wine.
Drinking from a Flute-Shaped Glass is Not the Only Way to Enjoy Sparkling Wine
After chilling your wine, you always go for a tall flute-shaped glass because, traditionally, that has been regarded as the best way to enjoy your drink. However, the flute shape has a downside; it prevents you from appreciating the wine's aroma. On the other hand, it keeps the fizz in the glass, so if you enjoy watching bubbles rise as you sip, by all means, go for the narrow flute.
You can still opt for a coupe; its wide mouth will cause the bubbles to disappear faster, but you will enjoy the wine's scents and flavors more. If you can't wait to discover premium sparkling wines, a glass with a broad middle and narrow top will enable you to appreciate all the drink's attributes.
It Should Not Be Set Aside for Special Occasions
Someone once said that just being alive is a special occasion, so stop keeping your wine in the cellar waiting for that dinner date, barbecue party, or brunch to serve your guests. You can still pour yourself some whenever you please. If you enjoy some fried chicken, pair it up with your choice of champagne; well-seasoned steak also goes very well champagne. When not sure which wine goes with what, a picnic that allows you to sample a variety of sparkling wines is enough to help you decide.
The Types of Grapes and Aging Process Distinguish the Types of Sparkling Wine
Vintage champagne must be aged for at least three years in the bottle. As a result, the wine is only produced three times in a decade, which adds to the luxurious factor. It is made from a single year's harvest, which you can find displayed on the bottle. The selection of grapes for vintage champagne is only limited to the top three, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay. Non-vintage champagne's aging process takes about 15 months, and the grapes are from multiple harvests.
All Types of Sparkling Wine Should be Served Chilled
Regardless of their color, the right temperature to serve all types of sparkling wine is usually between 40-50°F to enable the carbon dioxide to remain trapped. Even after opening the bottle and pouring the first round, you should put it back on ice. If you are short of time, you should not be tempted to freeze for long. The water in the wine could freeze and expand, pushing the cork out wholly or partially or cracking the bottle.
You Can Use a Raisin to Bring the Fizz Back in a Flat Bubbly
You don't have to pour that flat bottle of wine down the drain because a raisin will restore the fizz. Every time you want to take it, drop a raisin in the bottle just before pouring yourself some. The leftover carbon dioxide will stick to the raisin and then be released back into the drink. The bubbles will only be for a few minutes hence timing is everything.
Sparkling Wine Bottles are Thicker than Regular Wine and Beer Bottles
Sparkling wine bottles usually hold a lot of pressure due to the carbon dioxide buildup during the second fermentation. The pressure is between 70 and 90 pounds for each square inch. It is thrice the amount of pressure you can find in a car tire; hence, the need for a thick bottle that will not crack.
*Written by Angela Sanderson in partnership with Grape Chic