09 November, 2002

Do and dont's of bubbly

Martha Stewart - the one and only - has a list of do and don'ts regarding sparkling wines as well. Of course. Since Martha doesn't know everything, I have added my comments too.

  • Choose a tall glass - flute or tulip - it preserves the bubbles longer, says Martha. It also lets you enjoy the spectacular buoyancy of the bubbles - this is what the French call train de bulles, I add.

    Martha continues, that, a tall glass is better to enjoy the bouquet of the champagne. I wonder. Since the aromas are more easy to recognize in a big glass, made for wine tasting. But then again, the bigger surface will make the bubbles leave faster. Forget about low and bowl-shaped glasses.

    Personally I prefer a tall but not too big glass, so I have a chance to empty it before it heats up too much, since I'm not a fast drinker. Hold around the stem instead of the glass to avoid warming up the content with your fingers.

  • Sparkling wine must be served chilled, Martha goes on. Cool the bottle(s) in the fridge some hours - well, I'd say 24 hours, but not days - before serving. The rest of the food in the fridge may have aromas, that can enter through the cork, if the bottle stays too long.

    A faster and more spectacular possibility is to cool in a cooler with water and ice. 20 minutes should do the job.

    Serve the champagne between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius. Old vintage champagnes between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius. Be careful that your wine has an appropriate temperature. It will for instance not stay cool if you leave it on the table for an hour.

  • Now we have choosen the glasses, cooled the bottle, and it's time to open it. Remove the gold foil and loosen the metal thread that keeps the cork in place. Place a finger over the cork to prevent from leaving the bottle at the wrong moment, is the advice from Martha.

    This could happen, if the bottle has been shaked too much. One way you can calm it down is to put it in the freezer a little while (my idea, not Martha's). But don't forget it. And remember it's a way to calm the bubbles not to cool them fast. This you obtain even faster in a bucket with water and ice.

    To open. Hold the bottle where it does not point at anyone in an angle of not more than 45 degrees. Twist the bottle - not the cork - with the other hand, until the cork leaves the bottle with a quiet sigh, as it's described somewhere in the literature.

No comments: