The season of good cheer, togetherness, celebrations and partying is upon us!
Around Christmas and New Year’s, people traditionally like to celebrate a variety of past events – a successful year in business, meeting a compatible soul mate, and religious events. Most people prefer champagne and/or sparkling wines to still ones.
Champagne is always associated with glamour, cheer, exuberance and celebration of good happenings. You will never find champagne served during sad events!
People of all walks who plan to celebrate with sparkling wine in general and champagne in particular lack the knowledge to make wise purchasing decisions and end up buying well-known, and well-advertised but usually overpriced wines. Since forewarned means forearmed, here is a suggestion that will not only equip you but also your clients to make the best decisions: stage a sparkling wine event.
You can proceed in two ways: a sit-down formal affair, or relatively informal stand-up tasting of a range of sparkling wines.
A formal sit-down style tasting including an informative and entertaining speech usually impresses participants and most remember the information as well as the wines tasted, for much longer.
The first thing to do is to ascertain an appropriately large, well-illuminated and ventilated room to hold comfortably up to 15 people.
Then you need a placemat for each participant, a disposable coffee cup for spitting, a napkin, 8 to 10 flute shaped sparkling wine glasses, and a wine evaluation form.
On the tasting form, are the names of wines served and their prices. Participants record their numerical and organoleptic impressions.
The form could be simply designed (see below) or complicated and more detailed.
Simple forms are much easier to understand and use:
Wine Country Method of Aroma Perlage FlavourTexture Overall Impression or Production region
It is best to stage the tasting well after a meal period (3 – 4 p m) or early at 10.30 am in a quiet room and provide some information about the different styles of sparkling wines: champagne, Charmat method, Carbon dioxide injected and aged and carbon dioxide injected and not aged.
The Champagne method id the most elaborate and time consuming of all. When meticulously undertaken, it yields outstanding wines with fine and numerous bubbles. The method was invented in the Champagne region of France, hence its name. It is also the name of the region where the vineyards are located. Champagne manufacturers insist that no other region of another country use it. Champagne is an appellation and a trademark.
Several lawsuits have been launched and successfully fought by champagne manufacturers, except in the U S A.
All other regions and other must label their sparkling wines either as classic method, or indicate on the label that the wine underwent a second fermentation in the bottle. Spanish call their “methode champenoise“ wines CAVA and Germans may only use the name SEKT on their sparkling wines even if they employ the champagne method.
The method was invented by Dom Perignon and perfected by Veuve Cliquot.
Charmat method wines tend to have fewer and larger bubbles. Generally they are less expensive than champagne, but can be very pleasant and enjoyable.
Most inexpensive sparkling wines are produced by the Charmat method.
Carbon dioxide injected and creating a blend and injecting it with carbon dioxide and aging it for a few months quickly and inexpensively produce aged wines. The bubbles tend to be large and disappear quickly.
Generally inexpensive and flavour-free wines are produced by this method and sold in “ second rate discount “ stores. (In countries with free alcohol retailing) In Canada all liquor control boards sell all of the above and even another less expensive sparkling wine, which is simply injected with carbon dioxide and bottled under pressure. Essentially much like a soft drink, except that instead of the soft drink base a wine is used.
Make sure that all glasses are sparkling clean and free of fat. If you do not have sufficient number of glasses rental companies would be more than happy to supply.
The following wines are recommended due to their wide availability.
This depends on jurisdiction. In some regions or countries availability may be restricted.
Consult your wine merchant for suggestions.
BRUT RESERVE PARTICULAIRE, NICOLAS FEUILLATTE, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE HENKELL TROCKEN, GERMANY
BRUT CLASSICO, CODORNIU, SPAIN
CHARDONNAY, REMY PANNIER, LOIRE, FRANCE
BRUT CUVEE, DOMAINE CHANDON, CALIFORNIA, USA
TRIUS HILLEBRAND, ONTARIO, CANADA
ASTI SPUMANTE, MARTINI E ROSSI, ITALY
BRUT, JANSZ, TASMANIA AUSTRALIA
ARIA ESTATE BRUT, CAVA, SEGURA VIUDAS, SPAIN
Arrange wines from driest and lightest to sweetest and fullest. Wine consultants in stores would be happy to advise you.
Stage a sparkling wine tasting and let your friends, family or business associates have a blast. They will thank you for the experience and remember you for a long time.