Sparkling wines are an immensely popular drink. They are the top choice for all sorts of celebrations, birthday parties, business events and romantic dinners. Their history is long and there is a lot of choices available when it comes to ordering or purchasing them. Here are some interesting facts you should know about this fabulous drink.
1. Discovered by mistake
There are many legends on how we have come to know one of the most luxurious drinks in man’s history. A symbol of a lavish lifestyle and prestige. You can’t blame anyone for wanting to take credit for this discovery. Our favourite and most famous myth is the story of a French Benedictine monk.
In 1600s Dom Perignon was successfully continuing his family’s tradition of making white wine in the Champagne region of France. One series of bottling during that period occurred earlier than usual. Dom Perignon thought that the yeasts had already finished converting all the sugar to alcohol. But yeasts had simply fallen asleep due to low temperatures. When it got warmer in the springtime, they woke up from their beauty sleep and began eating all the leftover sugar. As they were eating the sugar, they simultaneously produced carbon dioxide, which was unable to escape the bottle and was absorbed by the wine. When Dom Perignon came back to check the state of this wine, he discovered that corks had been popping out of the bottles. His curiosity led him to try what was inside. Supposedly that was when he uttered his famous sentence: “Come, I am drinking stars.”
2. One of the most territorial drinks ever
All champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines can be called champagne. As you can imagine the French are pretty territorial when it comes to naming. Only wines produced in the Champagne region may bear the same name. As for the rest of the French sparkling wines, they’re called Crémant.
Nevertheless, France is not the only country to invoke geographic protection over the names of their sparklers. The Spanish call their Cava and the Portuguese, Espumante. Italy has a whole number of names according to each of their wine producing regions. Franciacorta is the one from Lombardy, Asti from Piedmont, Lambrusco from Emilia and Prosecco from Veneto. It is important to note that Italians mostly produce their sparkling wines with the Charmat method. This is especially true for Asti and Prosecco, whereas Franciacorta is usually made according to the traditional method. The Germans call their sparkling wines Sekt and last but not least, Slovenians call our Penina.
3. Flute glasses are démodé
There is an unwritten rule that says sparkling wines should be enjoyed from flute glasses. These are actually a modern day invention, created to preserve bubbles and render their elegant chain shaped rise onto the surface. But to be able to fully enjoy all of the aromas of a selected sparkling wine and detect the direction of its bouquet, you should always choose a glass from which you would normally drink a corpulent red wine. A Coupe Glass in a more vintage, 1950s style is also a nice alternative. What’s most important is that the glass has a wide enough opening for you to get your nose in deep enough to be able to properly smell the wine. It is debatable though whether or not such a shape allows for the smell and the bubbles to fade away too soon.
4. Sweetness matters
Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, when it comes to sparkling wines, the level of sweetness reveals the lifestyle each one of them has had. Many experts will tell you that Brut Nature is something they can really go for. But no matter what your preferences are, here is the scale of sparkling wines level of sweetness. Be sure to have a look at it before your next party and you’ll know exactly what advice to give to your best friend.
– Brut Nature: means that the yeasts have eaten practically all of the sugar and have left behind a 0-3 g/L of expected residual sugar left in the wine.
– Extra Brut: If Brut Nature is a little too much for you, this one may be just right. It has a 0-6 g/L of expected residual sugar.
– Brut: with 0-12 g/L, this is a dry wine with a hint of sweetness and the most popular sparkler. The winemaker stops the fermentation process, just before the yeasts have eaten all the sugar.
– Extra dry: with 12-17 g/L, it’s the type that best describes Prosecco. It has a slightly enhanced sweetness. If you are not a fan of the totally brut style and you don’t have a sweet tooth either, this is the one for you.
– Dry: with 17-32 g/L, these wines pair remarkably well with food (salty, buttery snacks). They are an excellent choice for an aperitif.
– Demi-Sec: with 35-50 g/L, we are now getting closer to those who prefer something sweet, as well as those who seek a wine that will pair well with a dessert.
– Doux: a whopping 50+ g/L for those who are the most passionate about sweetness. If those toasty aromas in a brut nature and extra brut don’t seem to fit your taste, you are probably a sparkling sweetheart. Besides a decadent dessert, nothing pairs better with Doux than a hot summer night and a terrace.
5. Pair your sparkling wine with a selected dish
When it comes to sparkling wines the most frequently asked question is probably, what is the right way of pairing them with food. Dry sparkling wines will pair best with something adventurous, such as not too sweet and delicate pastries, light tapas, smoked salmon, avocado and sushi. Mature cheeses will also make a wonderful choice, especially if your friends are staying over a bit longer than usual. As opposed to popular belief you shouldn’t pair a dry sparkling wine with a sweet dessert, such as cake. If you do intend to serve it with heavier sweets you should always go for one that is sweeter than the food, such as Doux.
Those were some interesting facts we have managed to dig up on sparkling wine. We hope these will be helpful when you have your next encounter with the wine shelf. Apparently sparkling wines can be very diverse, which makes your choice a little harder. However, in the end, this is a great thing as you can really find the perfect one for any occasion. To further explore sparkling wine in Slovenia visit our website here and make a reservation for one of the tastings.