How to get the best from your sparkling wine and champagne

Try these seven tips to maximise the enjoyment of your favourite glass of bubbles.

Be it sparkling wine, prosecco, cava or champagne there's no better music than the sound of the pop of a cork from a bottle of bubbles. But while you may have thought the only consideration you needed to take was which bottle to open, Jansz Tasmania Vigneron Jennifer Doyle says there are plenty of other things that will make sure your chosen sparkling lives up to its potential. From temperature to food pairings, Jennifer reveals seven ways to make sure your next glass is top notch.

1. Store out of the fridge

Yes, you should chill before drinking, but being in the fridge longer than a week affects quality, warns Jennifer. "Sparkling wine is best stored out of the fridge, away from light, and in a cool place with consistent temperature," she advises. "It’s best to avoid storing sparkling wine in the fridge for longer than a week due to the lack of humidity, which can dry out the cork. Drying the cork can result in the seal loosening and the sparkling wine oxidizing faster, changing its aromas. Instead, pop it in the fridge a couple of hours before you are ready to enjoy it."

2. There's an optimal chill temperature

A perfectly chilled glass of sparkling wine is truly something worth savouring, says Jennifer, however drinking temperature is very much an individual preference. "Whilst we at Jansz Tasmania prefer 7-10°C to allow the delicate aromas and flavours to reveal themselves, you may prefer your sparkling a little more chilled," she says.

3. Use premium glassware for the best bubbles (also known as beads)

Glassware can dramatically change your sparkling wine experience, so it’s imperative you choose wisely. "Flute and coupe styles are traditionally used as they are said to enhance the wine’s aromas," explains Jennifer. "Choose premium glassware brands, like Riedel, which are usually etched with small imperfections in the glass to encourage the formation of bubbles. After you've poured the sparkling wine, admire the bubbles and ensure there is a steady stream rising from the bottom to the top of the glass. If not, you either have a dirty glass or a flat bottle. When you take your first sip, savour it – leave it in your mouth and feel those beautiful bubbles dancing on your tongue. This refreshing vibrancy of sparkling wine is truly one of life’s great pleasures."

4. Don't overfill your glass

"A common misconception with sparkling wine is that the glass is meant to be three-quarter filled," says Jennifer. "Actually it’s best to only pour it one-third of the way to ensure it doesn’t warm too quickly."

5. Enjoy it as a palate cleanser

Dry style or aperitif sparkling wine can be used as the ultimate palate cleanser. "Its mouthwatering acidity stimulates salivary glands and enhances appetite," Jennifer says. "This makes it the perfect starter for a dinner party, or even as an alternative to a sorbet palate cleanser during a degustation menu." 

6. Pair sparkling with salty foods 

Just as you would with any other wine, sparkling and champagne are best paired with complementary foods. "Older, vintage sparkling wines pair beautifully with complex, richer foods, including seafood and creamy cheeses," says Jennifer. "Youthful sparkling wines are best enjoyed with delicate, salty hors-d'oeuvres. At Jansz, our favourite pairing is Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvée with fresh Tasmanian oysters. Try a splash of sparkling wine in your next oyster."

7. Be adventurous

"There are many different styles of sparkling wine from many different regions - each has a unique taste to fall in love with," says Jennifer. "Non-Vintage to Vintage and Late Disgorged, the way the sparkling wine is made and aged influences its intensity and flavour. The grape varieties used also make a difference - pinot noir grapes are generally used in the production of sparkling rosé, while blanc-de-blancs sparkling wines exclusively use Chardonnay. The best sparkling wines can be found in cool climate regions. Tasmania is widely recognised as Australia’s premier cool-climate sparkling wine region."

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