Have you ever wondered what glasses are best for sparkling wine? Or the correct way to pop the cork? Master Sommelier Laura Rhys has all the tips and tricks for how to enjoy your sparkling wine at its best. Having worked in some of the best restaurants in England before joining the Gusbourne team, Laura shares her knowledge with you to help you savour every moment whilst drinking the very best.
Popping the Cork
The pressure in a bottle of sparkling wine is roughly the same as in a bus tyre! So, its important to open sparkling wines correctly, both to protect you and anyone near you, and also the wine inside the bottle. Whilst working as a Sommelier, I’ve seen corks hit ceilings and drop back down, narrowly missing guests, and corks exploding with dropped bottles zooming around back-bar floors!
Here is a step-by-step guide to opening a bottle of Gusbourne:
- Remove the foil but always keep the wire cage on, for safety.
- Unscrew the cage and loosen with one hand, keeping the other on the cork/cage top, to prevent any corks popping unexpectedly.
- Hold the cork and turn the bottle, until you feel the pressure pushing the cork out – allow the gas to escape steadily by easing the cork out gently. A hiss is better than a pop!
- Et Voila! Pour and enjoy
The Best Glassware
The shape of the glass affects the flavours and aromas, as well as the bubbles of your favourite fizz. Different glasses have been popular through different eras, including the glamourous coupe and the more practical flute. However, I’d suggest choosing a tulip shaped glass – slightly wider at the bottom and narrowing a little to the rim, to really enhance the aromas and flavours in the wine.
White wine glasses can also work well. Much of this comes down to preference, but whichever glass you choose, I’d suggest pouring wine to fill only 1/3 of the glass, to give the wine space to breathe.
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have a cellar in our homes, so we need to find the next best place to store our wines, be that a wine cabinet, pantry or under-stairs cupboard. If keeping wines over a period of time then a cool, dark environment is best, away from direct light and central heating. The ideal temperature is anything between 10-15°C, but if a storage area is a little warmer than this, that’s alright as long as the temperature stays fairly constant. Any fluctuations in temperature can be more damaging than the temperature itself.
It’s also very important to protect wines from sunlight, as UV rays can penetrate the bottle and damage the wine inside.
When to Drink Sparkling Wines
As a result of the acidity and structure of the wines, the best sparkling wines will age wonderfully and become richer, nutty and complex after 5-10 years in a cellar. The very best and purest examples can age for decades and, even if they lose some fizz, they retain all their elegance and interest.
Of course, if you can’t wait that long then these wines are deliciously fruit driven, fresh and elegant in their youth!
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