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A Bubbly to Ring in the New Year

By: Roxana Garciga

As the famous Hawaiian singer Don Ho once said…

Tiny bubbles (tiny bubbles)
In the wine (in the wine)
Make me happy (make me happy) Make me feel fine (make me feel fine)

Those tiny bubbles that Don refers to are called the “mousse” of the sparkling wine. They are what distinguish sparkling wines from all other wines. They are also what give these wines their light and lively feeling on the palate. These lovely bubbles were actually a beautiful mistake and were once considered a byproduct of poor winemaking. In the late 1400s, temperatures descended in Europe, freezing many of the continent’s lakes and rivers, while the monks of the Abbey of Hautvillers in Champagne were busy crafting red and white wines. The sudden cold temporarily halted fermentation (the chemical reaction by which wine is made) within batches of wine-in the-making created by the monk vintners. In the spring the warmer temperatures caused the wine to start fermenting again. This caused excessive carbon dioxide to be trapped in the bottles result-ing in the loveable bouncy bubbles.

Chalk Cellars

There are several methods that can be used to attain these bubbles. One is methode champenoise or traditional method, which is employed in the Champagne region of France (and other sparkling wine producing areas that require that method by law). Other methods employed to achieve those “tiny bubbles“ are the charmat or tank method and the transfer method. In Spain sparkling wine is called Cava, in Italy it is called Prosecco, in Germany it is Sekt, in South Africa it is Cap Classique and in France, in areas outside of Champagne, the wines produced are called Crémant. Nearly all wine-producing countries manufacture some sort of sparkling wine. Sparkling wines can be white, rosé or red and vary from extra dry to sweet. The beauty of bubbly is that it can go with almost any food and makes any occasion celebratory. Below are a few sparkling wines, in the many different styles in which they can be made. These bottles will be perfect to take to a holiday party or even give as a gift.

Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise, REIMS, FRANCE

Fine, persistent bubbles, aromas of peach and brioche on the nose. Fresh fruit on the palate.

Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene Rive di Refrontolo, VENETO, ITALY

Persistent tiny bubbles with fragrance of peach and acacia and flavors of yellow apple and pear.

Pere Ventura Cava Tresor Brut Rosé, CATALONIA, SPAIN

Deep pink with persistent, fine bubbles, aromas of red fruits and rose petals. Strawberry, raspberry and cherries on the palate.

Reichsrat Von Buhl Brut Sekt, Pfalz, GERMANY

Citrus and pastry bouquet with green apple and citrus on the palate.

 

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