A conversation with our winemaker, Alex Reble and CEO, Jane Creed about Sparkling Wine
Jane: Alex, it’s that time of year. A time to pop the cork on some sparkling wine to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I have a few questions, and I am sure some of our Artisan Collection Wine Club members do, too, about all things bubbly. My first question is what is the best way to get that cork out of the bottle? The sound of a popping cork is one of my favorite sounds in the world. Can I enjoy the pop without a mess of sparkling wine emerging from the bottle?
Alex: First, safety is always a priority. There is a formidable amount of pressure contained in such a small container. I always place my hand on top throughout the entire process — first taking out the skirt and then loosening the wire. Toward the end, I like to hold the cork tight and actually turn the bottle. I have discovered that you have more control of the cork this way. Some people will use a small kitchen towel on top of the cork to avoid any issues. Don’t worry, Jane, you still get the popping sound of the cork at the end.
Jane: The taste and feel of cold sparkling wine, with its effervescent bubbles is one of life’s great pleasures? What is the best temperature to serve the sparkling?
Alex: Sparkling Wines are best at 42-52 °F or 6-11 °C. I agree the colder the better. The CO2 has a tendency to dissipate quickly in narrow flutes. So get a head start with a very cold wine to avoid losing too many flavors too early.
Jane: Any thoughts about putting the sparkling wine stems in the freezer so they are icy cold and beautiful to look at, when I pour up the sparkles?
Alex: I honestly have never had done that before. I will first have to make room in my freezer and remove my frozen peas, blueberry sorbet and a couple ducks that I have saved for Christmas dinner. Sounds like a great idea; I should interview you for some holiday entertainment ideas.
Jane: I’d love to serve up some sparkling wine cocktails for my family and friends. Do you have any great suggestions?
Alex: I like simple, straight forward flavors. Try the following:
The Ruby Duchess sparkling wine cocktail mixes the vibrant flavors of pomegranate juice and the refined bubbles of sparkling wine and delights from savory start to lip-smacking finish.-4 oz. sparkling wine (white or rose)
-2 oz. pomegranate juice
Preparation: Simply pour wine into a wine glass and gently add the pomegranate juice, stir gently.
I also love the following: This is a fun, not-too-sweet dessert wine cocktail with the fresh, fruit flavors of sorbet supported by the bubbles and balance of a classic California sparkling wine.
3 oz. Rosé Sparkling Wine
1 oz. Sorbet
Preparation: Place one ounce of your favorite fruit sorbet flavor in the bottom of the flute and slowly add the sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Jane: Should I serve the sparkling wine before dinner or after dinner? Or, hey, with dinner?
Alex: If you ask my wife, she will go through all the courses with only sparkling wine. So this is probably a personal decision based on dishes you plan to serve your guests. The great thing is that our Petit Cadeau and Grand Cadeau Rosé Sparkling wines are very versatile and can be paired easily. So let the bubbly flow! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Jane: Thanks, Alex! I can’t wait to start poppin’ those corks!